Be like Martin O’Neill, not Alan Shearer


Ask anyone who has never played the game, managed, or run a football club, and they will tell you how easy it is.  In reality, success and failure on or off the field is determined by complex and interdependent factors.  You need to be a footballer to understand, that even in this modern time of sports science, how fatigue affects your performance late in a game.

You need to be a manager to know that scoring more goals is not just about putting two up front instead of one, or that encouraging players to pass with more urgency can cause undesired outcomes.  Few of us have the benefit of these experiences.

Then there are those who should know these complexities, and at one time, maybe did know, but are now lost in blissful ignorance.  Alan Shearer, you have been called out.

Martin O’Neill distilled his 31-years managerial experience into eight words for Shearer, who criticised Fulham’s Ireland international right back, Cyrus Christie, saying, “Maybe that’s why he [Shearer] only managed eight games”.

Alan, if you knew more about football management than you did, perhaps you would have recorded more than a single win in the business.  Your knowledge of management is not sufficiently useful to extend your game experience to double figures.  Worse than that, despite an illustrious playing career, you have forgotten that all those complexities and interdependencies exist.

There’s a debate to be had (another day) about who makes the better analyst, a former player or a  trained journalist.  The journalist will never know just how hard it is to make a 20 yard pass when you are so exhausted you can hardly see.  But too often, former footballers do not use analytical skills, which is pretty important when analysing.

Easy answers are offered for complex problems continually.  Why did Fulham ship five goals to Arsenal?  Maybe it was because Cyrus Christie took it upon himself to play as wing-back for the day, as Shearer suggests.  Or maybe it was a combination or several players actions, as well as tactics, counter-tactics, relative economic resource, the break of the ball and a dozen other things.

Martin O’Neill added, “[Shearer] should have prefaced things by saying ‘I don’t know what the manager has said’ because, at the end of the day, the manager has asked him to stay up the pitch and not worry about getting back.”

Be like Martin, not Alan.  People who offer simple solutions to complex problems usually have a huge knowledge gap.


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  1. Dharma


    Morton’s roll and skwerr wi a cheeky wee tottie scone and lashings of broon sauce and mug of tea, is breakfast for the gods. ?



  2. setting free the bears for Res. 12 & Oscar Knox on 10th October 2018 10:24 pm



    The blog in question was one of the worst things I have ever read on a Celtic forum. Arrogant, entitled, complacent and hunnish! There’s no need to second guess what the author really meant, it was utter bullshit and plenty of posters called it as such.





  3. Delaneys Funky,


    All good but I’lll give you my share of the broon sauce.



    Have you ever heard Shack? Listening to them tonight-the corner of miles and Gil. Cup of tea and the first track keep going round my head. The song about bondage.



    All good music

  4. Marspapa


    Hope you are listening to Irish voice Hozier.


    This bhoy has soul. His latest recordings excellent.


    YNWA xx

  5. mike in toronto on




    Shack? Michael Head … he used to record under the name The Pale Fountains … two of my favourite albums!

  6. MIT


    Always thought Mick Head was an unfortunate name to have. Easily misconstrued haha.



  7. Mike, I have the Pale Fountains lined up to listen to next. And after that it’s Michael Head and the Strands, the next incarnation.


    If you like Love and The Byrds, it’s odsonne you’d like Shack.


    I’ll let you know after I listen to the Pale Fountains.



    Have a good one, everyone

  8. mike in toronto on

    Delaney’s Funky Dunky … I like it! Michael Head’s brother, who joined Shack, was named John Head … also unfortunate.



    Dharma, I like Shack as well, but preferred TPF. Enjoy!

  9. MIT


    I love Delaney’s Funky Dunky almost as much as I loved Kate Bush when I was baw drap 13. ?? Magic


    I just know that something good is gonnae happen. I don’t know when.


    YNWA xx

  10. In ither news…….



    “Scotland’s Naismith chases dream double..”



    oh aye……….



    Managed, skripted, komplicit, sleekit, hun-guffery at a whole other Level.

  11. In other,


    ……….. ither news………………..



    “Ernest Saunders”.




  12. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    CQN provides a social service to a global Celtic supporting community .


    Any risk of some appreciation for the provider ?

  13. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    Bobby .







    Maybe a bit of lateral thinking.



    Do their employees pay tax?


    If the company closes down and relocates to any number of low tax locations ( Think Brexit , think Spain , think Italy ) how much tax will be paid by their former and perhaps unemployed employees ?

  14. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    4,000 jobs at risk ?





    A Mondelez spokesman said: ‘In common with all global businesses, we pay corporation tax based on the laws of the countries in which we operate.’



    The firm, which also owns Kenco, Bassett’s and Oreo, employs 4,000 staff in the UK and says it is ‘a significant contributor to the UK economy’.

  15. Good morning troops from a chillier than yesterday Garngad



    Day 4 of my 4 day week before NYC on Monday



    Come on Israel






    D. :)

  16. Good morning friends from a dry but getting greyer as I type East Kilbride. Better get on my bike soon.


    Matchday, woo-hoo!


    COYBIB ;-)

  17. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    Inspiring simple lyrics.



    ” Teach your children ” .

  18. setting free the bears for Res. 12 & Oscar Knox on 10th October 2018 10:24 pm



    The blog in question was one of the worst things I have ever read on a Celtic forum. Arrogant, entitled, complacent and hunnish! There’s no need to second guess what the author really meant, it was utter bullshit and plenty of posters called it as such.





    At the time I thought it hunnishly arrogant and crying out for a hubristic boot in the baws. I said so at the time.


    It seemed to be missing only details of a floating pitch and casino.



    HH jg

  19. morning bhoys from a dull Cheshire.HRAVTSKI JIM, remember a while back I e-mailed you a pic of benny the pup, and you kindly put it on the blog for me ive, got one now of our new pup Donny, could you do the same ,got to rush out now will see you later.hh.

  20. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    JAMESGANG on 11TH OCTOBER 2018 8:11 AM


    setting free the bears for Res. 12 & Oscar Knox on 10th October 2018 10:24 pm



    Think you`ve got the wrong attribution there , old son .

  21. Dharma Bam @ 10.45



    I am glad that you, at last, expounded some reasons for your position as, up until then, you had just been taking sides without expressing any personal view (that was my reference to “hauners”- not any dog whistle call for help- I prefer to advance my own arguments, thank you! as weight of numbers only decides the popularity not the accuracy of one side of the debate).



    Now on to your points:-



    Firstly, the personal stuff. You really do not know me nor do you know people like me. And vice versa is true- I don’t know you and do not see you as a “type”. All the characterisations of people you read are merely attributions- you are responsible for making them and I take no responsibility for being their target.



    Second, the “semantics” jibe is a mistaken one just as any misuse of the word “theory” is used mistakenly to suggest a large element of gueswork. Semantics are concerned with logic and meaning, the precise issues concerned with any debate. How else do you move a debate forward other than by clarifying meaning or producing supportive evidence? It could only, otherwise be sorted by a fist fight (I am not making a threat here in case it is attributed so) or by an escalation of name calling, which is a truer reason that people depart from a blog. Semantics are a good thing to be careful about and a theory (best fit hypothesis on available evidence and open to being disproved) is a good thing to put forward.



    Your point about football managers requiring less formal training than docs or solicitors is a good one but your conclusion is too abrupt. It does not render the comparison invalid but it does weaken it. I could have used trade analogies. Someone can study plumbing at night classes and become a reasobable plunber but it is highly unlikely that you could call yourself a competent plumber if you had merely read or wrote about plumbing. The world of football management at the top level is exclusively populated by ex-footballers who played at a reasonable level (even Mourinho and Wenger) but there is no direct link between how good you were at playing elite football and managing elite football (Cruyff, Dalglish etc are marked anomalies and Jack Charlton was a better manager than his brother). We have to account for why this is or the argument that a gifted amateur writing on a blog could do just as good a job remains unchallenged. I acknowledge that we can make good points on occasion but we really cannot earn any credence as being just as good, even as bad managers, when we have never had to prove it at any remotely equivalent set up. I was invited to be part of the national coaching set up in the sport I played and I could have done it if family circumstances had allowed. But I didn’t and even if I did, I would not be fitted to transfer my skills into a completely different sport. And I believe that amateur football coaching is still yet radically different from elite football management.



    Your final point is to introduce the Gordian Knot solution as an example of a complex problem solved simply. However, that analogy suffers from it being a legend with various different versions of how the problem was solved. All are moot, in any case, because to become ruler of Anatolia, alexander did not achieve this by one sword stroke but by the complex efforts of many swordsmen spearsmen and chariot drivers. The Gordian Knot olution, if it did indeed happen, was just a piece of showmanship to confer legitimacy on what he had already won by battle.



    But even if you did provide one example of where a simple solution solved a complex problem it would not break the underlying theory and weight of evidence that complex problems need complex and co-ordinated attempts at solutions.

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