Clotet’s background is more as a coach than a manager, Darryl Eales knows that he has a successful infrastructure in place already, what he wants is a key cog in the machine, not the machine itself. The English tradition of an all-consuming team manager, like Alan Pardew, has become increasingly outdated. The issue is not so much about the manager, but what might happen after he leaves. Look at Nottingham Forest after Clough, Manchester United after Ferguson or us after Wilder. Despite standing by his side for 5 years, it seemed that Mickey Lewis hadn’t even caught onto the idea that James Constable was a goalscorer, such was the degree of control Wilder had. The manager model promotes rollercoaster of revolution after revolution as new styles, backroom staff are introduced. What Eales wants to do is build on the Appleton legacy and benefit from the corporate knowledge that already exists in the club.
Facebook, which is beginning to make Yellows Forum look like the Ecclesia from ancient Athens, lamented the idea of a foreign coach. I understand the whimsical idea of English teams being managed by English managers, but for the club to limit its search to less than one percent of the globe seems a bit like complaining that you can’t buy mackerel at the butchers.
The superstar – Frank Lampard
The journeyman manager? – Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is both a former international and foreign, but his managerial career currently teeters between upcoming coach and journeyman manager. At Burton, he sustained the momentum which took them out of League 2, but at QPR he looked more limited. It’s unfair to instantly label Hasselbaink a hired gun, but we don’t want to become just a notch on anyone’s managerial bedpost.
Clotet’s managerial career is complicated; he’s 40 but has been managing and coaching for 17 years. But, this appears to be his first proper management role. Some point to failures elsewhere as a concern, but it’s difficult to tell whether they’re comparable to the situation at Oxford. In the end, as we found with Michael Appleton, it’s the mix of the right person in the right place which defines success. Darryl Eales should be able to give Clotet the environment he needs to be a success.
If Darryl Eales wants to sustain success at the club, then his coaching appointments should follow a similar pattern to the club’s recent player recruitment successes. Find someone on an upward trajectory, utilise their skills while you can, accept that they will eventually move on and be ready to replace.
The general regard for Clotet among Leeds fans seems to be that he very much fits the profile of the man he’s replacing at Oxford. It is easy to think when starting a new job that you’ve been brought to fix something broken, but that isn’t the case with us, what we do works, Clotet is there to build on that.