Identifying Our Coaching Targets
Today brings you all a guest article from REBUS67,which will give us all a break from my recent negativity.
How did Celtic go about isolating the targets for the Manager/Coach position? Identifying candidates for coaching positions seems to involve one or more of the following.
1. Reputation, either as a coach or as a player. Gerrard is a good example of evaluating a candidate based upon his playing record. John Barnes is a more relevant example that illustrates the risks of using this approach.
2. Did the candidate coach a team that has played us and, perhaps, has beaten us? BR was impressed with Jack Ross’ teams when they played us. His name has floated around the Celtic position but the need for a high profile appointment probably deep sixed his chances. Sparta Prague gave us a doing, home and away. Was any consideration given to the current coach, Pavel Vrba, or even his predecessor, Vaclav Kotal? Similarly, was the coach of Copenhagen sounded out? Somehow I doubt it.
3. Former coaches can identify targets. I suspect at least some of Strachan, MON, or BR was asked for their views.
4. Professional agencies can be used to both identify and assess candidates. Some agencies specialise in the football industry. There is no shortage.
5. Finally, the most important criterion is Track Record, particularly, recent track record. Coaches such as Mourinho peak and then their most recent track records show decline, as at Chelsea and ManU.
The next step in the recruitment process is to figure out the club’s priorities. Is it to develop youth players with the intent of selling them on? Is it to avoid relegation? Is it to win back the league? Is it to improve performance in Europe?
Some managers are good at fighting relegation, others, whilst good managers, cannot deal with that kind of pressure. Others are good at improving the performance of teams that have limited budgets but then have difficulty buying top players that can improve the club. Howe probably fell into this category.
Then there is the tactical style preferred by the candidate and whether we have the players to adopt that style. For Celtic this is a moot point since half of the team are likely to be gone by the time that a manger arrives. However, related to this is the available budget. Can Celtic fund the tactical style of the candidate?
Currently, Postecoglou favours a 433 defending style with an intense press. For example, Rogic does not fit into that style. Christie is the nearest to the type of player required and he wants to leave. So, apart from any other area, the Postman will need to strengthen the midfield with probably two energetic players. He has used other systems in the past but all of them use the press and a system of rotating players in and out of this press. I doubt that we currently have enough of that type of player. Ferguson at Aberdeen would be a candidate.
Another aspect that is assessed is the personality of the candidate. Will he fit within the club and within Scottish football in general? BR was the perfect example of a personality that quickly dominated Scottish football and the associated media. He and PL are also examples of a class of personalities that, ultimately, was a negative for the club. Lennon Mark 2 was the counter example who managed to alienate virtually every sector of the industry…fans, senior management, players, refs. There may be very good reasons why this happened but it was the reality.
Postecoglou is reported to have a no nonsense approach to players and the media. Can he put the negative media back in its box? It would be a tall order to do that as well as resurrect a failing team. Chances are he will alienate the media, but is that not already the case?
There are many other factors that have to be considered but let me finish on one that is important to the future of the club. Can the candidate develop young players? Here Postecoglou seems to have a good track record. With the Australian national team he seems to have culled the old guard and brought in promising youngsters. He did this as well with the Australian clubs that he managed. It is more difficult to judge if he did this for Yokohama. He has a squad of 30 and 20 of them are over 25.Hopefully, he was quizzed on this aspect during interview.
In trolling through the recruitment literature, it seems there is one aspect that stands out in successful recruitment. The first thing to realise in the process is scope. It is important to start with the net spread as widely as possible. We have seen the folly of not doing this with the “Shower” appointment of NL. Limiting ourselves to “Celtic minded” or Irish connected candidates only makes the process harder and more likely to result in a shallow pool. Similarly, relying too heavily on the City connection has the same effect.
A better starting point in recruitment is to ask what do we want the club to be known for in its style of play? Do we have a particular style of play that we want to develop from youth to first team? Having decided that, go and look for candidates that have that in their track record. BR is one who understood this but there are many others.
Perish the thought, but we could even write in a playing style clause into the coach’s contract! Failure to deliver that could result in termination.
Above article by REBUS67,with grateful thanks.