Was Karl Robinson really Tiger’s ‘wow’ appointment? Who knows? We don’t know the scope of his ambition; where ‘wow’ begins and ends. Maybe he was thinking about Patrick Kluivert or maybe someone decidedly more down to earth. Like an erratic firework, a wow appointment could have seen us sparkle in the sky or blow up in our faces.
It was an unfortunate phrase, because there’s no such thing as a wow appointment, every manager carries a risk, virtually no manager has universal appeal – unless its Pep Guardiola (or whoever’s the de facto best coach in the world at that time) or a returning hero (think: Bobby Robson at Newcastle). The only genuine wow appointment for us would have been Michael Appleton.
It was quite conceivable that Tiger would try to appoint a ‘name’, quite a few were bandied about – Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Sven Goran Eriksson, Jaap Stam. Any of those would have been a coup, it would have given Tiger and the club plenty of exposure, but ultimately it would have been a vanity appointment; Eriksson’s farcical reign at Notts County and Teddy Sheringham’s disastrous career at Stevenage should act as a sobering reminder of what typically comes of these appointments.
The idea of David Unsworth or Craig Bellamy would have been very Darryl Eales style appointments. Young, ambitious and thoughtful coaches looking to break into the next stage of their management career. Superficially, these would have followed the mould of Michael Appleton, although that ignores the fact Appleton already had experience as a manager before he came to us.
Whether Tiger was just a bit too liberal with his hyperbole, or whether his ambition was tethered somewhere along the way, Karl Robinson represents a good appointment for us. He has nearly 10 years managerial experience and he’s still only 37. He has a decent track record of success. So, while no managerial appointment is devoid of risk, Robinson is as good a fit as we could hope for.
The next step for Tiger in gaining the confidence of the fans, is establishing a stable, well-funded, foundation on which Robinson can do his work. For all the machinations around MK Dons, their owner runs his club well and Robinson thrived in such an environment.
It’s more than just opening a cheque book; the executive team needs sorting; managing director Niall McWilliams has been absent throughout the management debacle, we can’t have this dithering when signing players. Either Tiger takes over that role, empowers the current incumbent or brings in someone he trusts to do his bidding, but it doesn’t look sustainable at the moment.
There’s work to be done, but that’s in the future. Robinson is a good resolution of a painfully drawn out process; a good start for Tiger. Perhaps we can start thinking about football again.