15 October 2007
FRANK MALONEY'S VIEW
One must be asking what is going on at Millwall Football Club.
Willie Donachie was hailed as Millwall’s saviour last season when he avoided relegation and brought us to within a whisker of the play-offs. This year he has taken the team to the bottom of League One and has been sacked within a year of being offered a new contract.
The fans must be asking what has gone wrong with Willie the manager. Let’s put it into perspective – Willie has a great name in football and is known as a first class coach. As a coach you only work under a manager and your responsibilities are technical and based around improving players’ skills – not man management.
Willie made his name as a coach under Joe Royle at Man City and many coaches with huge success fail when they become managers.
Let’s look at some great managers with successful back room teams. There’s Martin O’Neill at Aston Villa and Sam Allardyce at Newcastle. Allardyce previously guided a mediocre team to great success in the Premiership but look at them now since they promoted their former coach Sammy Lee to manager.
Let’s not forget the most famous of them all, Brian Clough, who had limited coaching ability but was a first class manager – and his sidekick Peter Taylor who also failed when he stepped out on his own.
What is the answer to Donachie’s poor performance this season?
Last season he had no money, wasn’t able to buy and had to work with the players he had previously been coaching so there was not much change in the setup. This season he has sold off some of Millwall’s players and bought in new signings who have not performed.
It shows that while he is undoubtedly a good coach, wheeling and dealing is not his forté and that is where good managers succeed.
In a nutshell Willie distinguished himself as a coach but has failed as a manager by being unable to motivate them and get the best results out of his new players.
Let’s look at Willie’s old club Man City – who last year were a total shower.
This year they appointed one of England’s most unsuccessful managers ever – Sven Goran Eriksson who failed whilst managing the most talented English team for a long time.
He has now gone to Man City, bought reasonable players and has knitted together an exciting and efficient team that are playing well.
Eriksson’s success once again shows the difference between a coach and a manager as with England he was more coach than manager.
Rumour has it that the players had no respect or fear of Willie as a manager and all athletes must have a respect for the gaffer tantamount to fear for him to be successful.
To me it looks as though Millwall have taken the cheap option once again and instead of hiring a proven manager have gone for the cheaper option in Richard Shaw, by promoting a member of their coaching staff who has no managerial experience.
If I was on the Millwall board I would be aiming to bring Premiership football back and I would try to bring George Graham back to the club. He was our best manager, is still fond of Millwall and I’m sure with the right persuasion would love to do the job.
What Millwall have done is take the cheaper option which they will no doubt regret in the long term.
This would have been the equivalent of me going down to the local gym and pulling out a local trainer to take over Lennox Lewis’ training after he was knocked out by Oliver McCall in 1994.
Instead we interviewed four of the best American trainers and employed Emmanuel Stewart as we knew he would get the best out of Lennox.
Like all Millwall fans I will support Richard Shaw and hope that he can turn it around, but I must be honest and say I can only see doom ahead.
I expect Shaw will have no more experience than Willie at wheeling and dealing which is a skill he must have to get us out of the predicament we are in.
Maybe the Millwall board will tell Shaw there is no money and he will have to do with what he has got?
Former manager Dennis Wise has surprised me. I criticised him at the time but he has done wonders in turning around Leeds’ fortunes.
If the board are really serious about promotion I will step in as Millwall manager and bring in my own coaching team as I believe with my proven man management skills I could turn our fortunes around.
I would do this for 12 months for no fee if I fail. But if I bring them success, which I will, I would expect to be rewarded.
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