Systems more important than the manager


Getting rid of the last guy is always the easy part.  It is the day later, when your mind turns to appointing a successor, that your worries really start.  The great problem with managers is that their careers do not proceed with success or failure evident in a linear manner.

The guy sitting joint second in England with a provincial Midlands club was sacked five years ago by Liverpool, who are adrift in sixth, despite having a genuine top tier manager.  Davie Moyes reputation was fixed as one of the English game’s tired old options before he got a chance to return to West Ham and has them in a Champions League spot.

Mourinho is the classic example.  Champions League winner with two clubs but he presides over the descent of Tottenham.  Guardiola needs all the money in the world to keep Man City ahead of Leicester and still awaits a Champions League since parting with his Argentinian Midas.  I enjoy watching City but Pep’s eight years there and at Bayern failed to deliver the trophy both clubs wanted.

All you really know about a manager with an impeccable record of improving players and teams is that his form will soon decline; they all do.

Systems bring sustained success in football.  Deeply embedded, appropriately resourced and continually reviewed systems: recruitment, development and coaching systems in particular.  Get this right and even Klopp would be able to push Liverpool above sixth.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author


  1. Inter Milan had the best system ever encountered in football ……up until a great manager destroyed it!!!!

  2. Paul67



    Absolutely spot on. Look across the Clyde. A bunch of journeymen sitting atop of the league. Not one player you’d pay money to watch…..but….they play to their strengths, in a system, and importantly, play as a team. Granted their getting some help from their “brothers”, but not in Europe. Hate to say it but it’s working for thems.


    Get the right manager and things will be a lot better

  3. A manager on their own will not win us the league, a clear and shared vision with everyone pulling in the same direction wins leagues, board, manager, players and supporters all need to be together.



    This season is an example of where this was not the case and probably one where all areas appeared to be going in different directions. Why has been debated for months on this site.



    Adversity can be something we have seen pulling us together in the past.

  4. In the case of Klimala, Bayo and Shved, I can’t really make an informed


    judgement as they have hardly been seen. If Edouard was fit, Neil Lennon


    would rather play 5 number 10’s behind him. Think these players were


    bought to make a profit but you would need to play them.


    From whatlittle i’ve seen of Bayo he was an option as he looked good in the


    air and Klimala has pace which is important in the modern game.


    But getting 6 minutes at the end of the game proves nothing.

  5. garygillespieshamstring on

    I would waste our time with Nathan Jones.



    Winter’s passed, spring and fall.


    He’ll never write and he ‘ll never call.



    He’s been gone too long.



    Supremes csc

  6. Good luck to John Kennedy. He was a gentle giant in his all too brief career and there will be no pressure on him as he tries to re-establish some kind of regular performances. As for full time manager we should look to former players and local people, Belshill gave us Billy McNeill, Paisley gave us Davie Hay. Apart from Dalglish, who was briefly our caretaker manager, the only two Glaswegians who have ever managed Celtic are Jimmy McGrory and Tommy Burns. Maybe we should limit the search to the geographical area that produced the Lisbon Lions.

  7. vinniethedog on 25th February 2021 3:31 pm



    Inter Milan had the best system ever encountered in football ……up until a great manager destroyed it!!!!






    I meant to refer to that in my post, but it autocorrected. Anyway, yes the system known as Catenaccio

  8. Gary


    Very good



    He didn’t make it at Stoke – he inherited a squad of prima Donna ex EPL players on big wages. He seems to suit Luton though

  9. St Tams 👍



    Think the summary is that it’s an odd league! 3 main types of manager – the Warnocks who have been there, done it, but aren’t really good enough when their teams get promoted; the Wagner types – up and coming, a bit of a gamble but have new ideas and the gamble paying off is probably the best chance of success, and those who have been at their clubs for a while and being solidity but no excitement (tour Warne’s and Jones’).


    Your Swansea man is the only one I think I would consider at the moment – and even then pretty far down my list.

  10. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    RC on 25TH FEBRUARY 2021 3:52 PM




    add kouassi to your list of players that the previous manager was not fair to






    Wee Dembele too.






  11. Any day soon we can expect Dermot Desmond to drive up to Celtic Park in his ass and cart with a new manager in tow with a job description reading


    something like this. The ability to break down packed defences in the SPFL,


    improve young players, win every match, particularly against Rangers, qualify for the Champions League and have good contacts in the game. End of job description.

  12. Big Georges Fan Club – Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar


    Bang on – Wee Dembele might be the worst of all.

  13. If we’re going to have an ex-Celtic player in the frame, then why not Sean Maloney? If he’s good enough to coach the best team in the world, surely he’s good enough for us. (If he brings in Martinez, even better.)

  14. RC



    Obviously Rodgers, O’Neill and Willie Maley were from further afield and are among our greatest ever managers. Looking forward from 2021 though we need to re- connect with heartlands, we should look first for employees who are in the local area because sometimes what you need is staring you in the face. Take Andy Robertson.




    Our wounds are self inflicted complacency, pressure from Ipox has nothing to do with it …. I would use Charlie Adam as a source for anything, day of the week maybe

  16. bournesouprecipe………….Jock reading the riot act to yer man Helenio Herrera. Would thatbe correct.

  17. The list of players that haven’t been given a proper run in the team is saddening, especially wee Dembele. But the likes too of Shved, Kilmala and Kuassi should have been given a chance, imo.

  18. RC


    I’m sure I read that they are allowed to buy him at the end of the season.


    For an agreed fee – Like we are overrun with centre backs ( real ones )


    It’s like when Okoflex took to TikTok to show how frustrated he was.


    That reeks of a lack of communication within the player group.


    Everyone should know where the manager thinks they fit in the



  19. Will take a look at their match against Antwerp tonight see if there’s any sign of a collapse though they’ve gone 10 games unbeaten in Europa so far. Not too bad.

  20. “However, Tavernier’s fellow right-back, Nathan Patterson, left-back Calvin Bassey and midfielder Bongani Zungu have rejoined Gerrard’s squad after being forced to quarantine having breached Covid-19 rules.”



    So that did actually happen?

  21. onenightinlisbon on

    There is surely no reason to have a “Celtic” man for the managers job. Why limit the scope of the search? If we had done so prior to appointing the last manager we may well have been looking forward to celebrating ten in a row. “Knowing the city” is not a pre-requisite to be successful Celtic manager.

  22. The players at the club remain a problem. There is the Loanees Kenny, Duffy, Laxalt, Elynoussi none is worth buying as they aren’t good value for money. N’tcham, Julien, Ajer, Eddy, Christie and McGregor are the want aways and with Ajer the exception none have performed well. Griffiths, Rogic, Bitton and Ajeti cannot play 90 minutes due to lack of Fitness. Those out on Loan, Hendry, Boli, Shved, Bayo are also not good enough, Dembele and Oko flex are disgruntled and are leaving.



    These are the players who are non triers and need to leave as no coach will get a performance from them,




    We have occasionally bought strong running forwards who were good with teams on the break , Bayo ,Kilmalcolm, Kenny Miller and famously Harold Brattbakk … Ollie block from 18 months ago



    They don’t fit in against packed defences and they tend to have a touch like a rhino when faced with the tip tappy balls played into them ….



    Square peg square hole is the way forward , let’s not have a team of ball juggling midgets with tiny full backs … team is the sum of its parts … can’t just fill it with tanner ba men , which us where we gave ended up … the blokes that didn’t get a game were either not skilful enough to cope with our tippy tappy stuff or big enough to cope

  24. prestonpans bhoys on



    What happened to the eight game bans?



    Exactly and why are we and all the rest of the league saying nothing?



    I see headlines quoting Charlie Adam that Celtic crumbled the moment ‘Rangers’ applied any pressure.


    Just goes to show that even in-bred village idiots could see it.


    Makes you wonder how our highly remunerated CEO and Board managed to miss it.





    While that might be true for this year , the ‘Rangers’ applied the pressure last season and were ahead at the end of 2019, they then fell apart.


    I posted this a few months ago and I still can’t remember who said it but this person (a highly respected manager) said the sign of a good manager is not one who can keep a team winning but rather one who had a winning team, lose a few matches and then gets them back to winning consistently again. Habits form he said just as much in losing as in winning, only a good manger can get that good habit going again. Unfortunately for NL (his own poor abilities/players wanting away/giving up/not as good as they think they are/unknown forces) he was unable to do this.


    I have to say that I’m quite neutral on the whole Martinez for Celtic business, not against him, he does manage Belgium! But as a club manager (a very different animal) did he get a cup with Wigan but also get them relegated. I am of course open to persuasion but club/international football are very different animals. If he is so sought after possibly after the Euros would a whole host of EPL clubs not be looking for him too?

  26. SPIDEY01



    Early yet but Rooney racking the wins up at Derby..heading up the table.As you say prob want to stay were he is.. as a player hes been there seen it done…worked under great coaches..just sayin