What a contrast to our previous regimes.
For all his rights and wrongs – and I think there were more rights over his tenure – Ray Trew found it difficult to stay away from social media and club message boards, often falling into the trap of over promising some new signing.
He also seemed pretty keen to hit the fire button as the revolving door rarely slowed down on the manager’s office.
Then, of course, we had the ego which took the club out of the league and almost out of existence, alienating our closest neighbours and making the club a laughing stock while retaining the trigger happy nature of hire and fire.
What we needed is exactly what we have now – stability and a great relationship between owners and manager.
They’re putting no pressure on Neal Ardley and that must be a great situation for him, allowing him and his staff to look on a longer term basis than most managers are allowed.
In fact, they haven’t really said a lot at all, so maybe the things they haven’t said are quite interesting:
- They’ve not shouted about any ‘game-changing’ new signings
- They’ve not made outlandish predictions of where we’ll be in 5 years
- They’ve not been critical of any other team or organisation
- They’ve talked up how good we are
- Stayed in the background
- Provided steady hands while bringing the club under control
- Given good, honest answers in the few interviews they’ve done
Of those rare interviews, they actually seem quite reluctant to garner publicity for themselves – how about that for club owners?!
I enjoyed listening to them on Radio Red not so long ago. A half hour chat, thoughtful, constructive and a great insight into how they work.
What I found interesting was that they seem to have a great relationship with Ardley and view changing the manager as a last resort. From studies they’ve done, they’ve identified that it often doesn’t work, so things will have to go pretty badly for the axe to fall, and that stability must be a better place for the club.
So often you see a change of manager followed by wholesale changes in the squad. I’m a big believer that it takes a good 2 or 3 transfer windows before a manager can call the squad his own so unless it’s going badly wrong, give the guy time.
Another thing we need to do, and it’s great that they are so open about it, is that the manager has to be willing to work with them, using data as part of the process to sign someone.
We’ll probably never know how they do it, what info they look at, etc, but you know that some managers would rebel against that and class that as boardroom interference, so the manager needs to see this as a tool to help him.
Brentford brought out a similar process a while ago and Mark Warburton immediately announced he would leave the club, although he did see out the season.
When Leicester City won the Premier League, 2 of their best players were Mahrez and Kante, plucked from Le Havre and Caen respectively. I remember reading that both players came onto their radar because of data they’d used – how far they ran during games, how many tackles, etc.
That was followed up by watching them play, but it wasn’t just a gut instinct, as so much recruitment seems to be.
In fact, I can see this being the way things move in the future and I’m certain the big clubs use this and have been for some time.
We’re lucky to have these guys in charge and I hope they stay a good long time. It could be a real success story of how we appeared to be on the brink of liquidation and ended up with a stable, successful club.
You never know, it could be a blueprint for other clubs to follow.