Shakespeare wrote, in his play ‘As you like it’, a poem called ‘The seven ages of Man’.
“ALL the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts”…
It goes on to describe the human life cycle, starting as an infant, growing, blossoming, maturing and then declining. Eventually ending in:-“Second childishness, and mere oblivion,—Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything”.
Football managers, Premier League ones in particular, and successful Premier League ones most particularly, seem to go through similar stages.
To begin with the new man is appointed, and the fans are not too sure what to expect but hope for the best.
After a settling in period, he gets the team playing the way he wants them and results start to improve.
The next stage is when the club becomes successful and fans, and pundits start to sit up and take notice.
From here it’s just a short step to God like status. He can do no wrong. He’s loved and revered by all fans and even when there’s a small hiccup in the onward march of success, it is forgotten by the faithful hordes.
A couple of seasons see the club reach heights that haven’t been attained for more years than anyone cares to remember. Now fans assume this upward spiral will continue and, indeed, feel it’s their right to expect nothing less.
When other clubs’ supporters do this we label them ‘Arrogant’.
Suddenly, the team starts to falter. Players who, a few months ago were seen as ‘The greatest ever to have played for the club’ begin to make mistakes. Team selection is questioned, new recruits demanded, and tactics analysed and found wanting.
We’ve all seen this unhappy cycle countless times and we’ve all felt smug when the Arsenals, Tottenhams and Chelseas of this World end up sacking managers who have brought their club success and are now found to have feet of clay.
Nuno’s reign has followed the first few of these stages almost to the letter.
Now, on some social media, dissenting voices are starting to be heard.
What happens next I wonder?