I don’t read many autobiographies but felt compelled to dip into Sir Alex Ferguson’s latest book.
I wasn’t in the market for anecdotes about David Beckham’s hair or Diego Forlan’s masterful tennis skills, I simply hoped to gain insight into what made the Scot so successful.
And whilst I wouldn’t say I discovered one definitive revelation, Fergie did impart a few pearls of managerial wisdom in amongst all those headline-grabbing tales.
1. Give a player an inch and he’ll take a mile. Be tough on discipline or players run amok.
2. No player is more important than the manager. If any individual (regardless of talent) tries to control the dressing room, they must be removed.
3. Most important of all – don’t compromise.
The obvious connection amongst all these titbits is ruthlessness. Ferguson was notoriously fearless of the big decision if he believed it was best for the team.
Kenny Jackett has shown similar traits in a brief tenure as Wolves head coach, seemingly unperturbed by ruffling feathers.
Publicly calling out Wayne Hennessey for his refusal to play at Gillingham was just the latest in a long line of actions that stated in no uncertain terms – I’m the boss.
After exiling egos in the summer, he’s since re-populated the squad with young, ambitious players that can be shaped into his team. His ideas, his philosophy.
And guess what? They can actually play football. Ricketts, Golbourne, McDonald, Henry and Jacobs are all acquisitions that even the most critical supporter would struggle to find fault with.
It’s perverse that only in recent games, camouflaged by bad results, have we seen glimpses of what Kenny Jackett’s Wolves are capable of.
Against Leyton Orient, Tranmere and again in Friday’s loss at Priestfield, we saw a Wolves side dominate possession and boss large sections of the game.
Unfortunately, individual errors at one end and squandered opportunities at the other have resulted in criticism of our head coach based on a few bad results rather than praise for an encouraging improvement in performance levels.
I believe as a football fan you have to accept that a) you will never agree with any manager’s team selection all the time b) you won’t always play well when you win and c) you don’t always win when you play well.
It ultimately comes down to trust. Do you trust, based on everything (results, style of play, tactics, recruitment, management style, etc) that the manager (or head coach) will ultimately deliver success?
In the case of Kenny Jackett, it’s a resounding yes from me.
Not since Mick McCarthy was shown the door have we had such clear and decisive leadership. And where Mick failed (too much loyalty to old players, one-dimensional football, no fan rapport), the signs are that Kenny will succeed.
But perhaps most encouragingly of all, there are signs that for the first time in a long time, a Wolves team is developing an identity. The fact that that identity looks like being a team that play neat and attractive football only makes it all the more pleasing.
For these reasons I hope Kenny stays for a long time and continues to play it as he has done, with no compromises.