I thought it was worth posting in response to some of the most common questions/comments about a piece I did for West London Sport on Chris Ramsey and his job at QPR. (Link here for anyone who wants to read it)
First of all, thanks for all the comments. I’m very much a news man and generally prefer to stick to that. Opinion pieces are not really my thing but, whether they agree or not, people are always very kind when I do them. I appreciate it.
Many have asked what I was getting at by making the point several times that Ramsey’s face doesn’t fit. Several have also argued that his face would fit perfectly fine if he got results.
That’s true of course, and there was/is certainly a willingness to give him a chance. But for various reasons, some managers get cut more slack than others.
Because of his lack of managerial experience, the circumstances of his appointment and the fact that he is a friend of the director of football who appointed him, I don’t believe Ramsey has as much breathing space as others might.
I’d compare it to a few years ago, when at various times Rangers were looking for a new manager and Sean O’Driscoll’s name was among those being discussed behind the scenes.
I like O’Driscoll and think he’s an excellent manager. But this was not that long after Ian Holloway had made his mark at QPR, so I felt a manager so lacking in charisma in comparison would be up against it from the start. His face wouldn’t fit.
I think there are also comparisons to be made with Iain Dowie, who I thought was just what Rangers needed at the time he was appointed and who, by the way, was proved right in everything he said to the owners during his acrimonious time at the club.
Sure, there was a willingness to give him a chance. But the surprise and dubiousness at his appointment meant that he, like Ramsey, needed results quickly.
As for other responses, some have just involved continuing to list the names in the current squad. There’s not a lot I can say to that really that I haven’t already said.
In a sense it was me asking the question of the fantasy-football players as I call them, perhaps unfairly. I think it’s they who need to justify their opinion of what Ramsey should be achieving, given the big-time players and managers QPR have had in recent years and how things panned out.
Plus, I did suggest that Ramsey might not be the right person if the expectation is to get the best out of the squad as it currently looks. The piece was less about his ability to do the job than what the job itself actually is.
In terms of Ramsey’s team selections and his supposed refusal to change things: As I say in the piece, the most popular change would seem to involve 4-4-2 with Alejandro Faurlin in a two-man midfield – something successive managers have been reluctant to go with, and with good reason.
Other players Ramsey has been criticised for not selecting have been injured or at least not fit enough. Ben Gladwin (I think Rangers could do with him at the moment) and Sandro being prime examples.
On Karl Henry. He’s not playing well at the moment and in the fickle world of football he’s now public enemy number one for some and the root cause of many of Rangers’ problems.
Say what you like about Henry, he has done his best and performed for the last two Rangers managers when others have let them and the club down very badly.
Ramsey knows all about Sandro – he worked with him at Tottenham – and for a number of solid reasons is absolutely right to show Henry as much loyalty as possible and only make a change with a very heavy heart indeed. He’d go down in my estimation massively if he did otherwise.
Finally, the difference between coaching and management – which I do acknowledge – is an issue many have strong views on.
Here’s the thing: managers fail and get sacked all the time. They drop like flies every season. If they previously had a background in coaching, though, it can be conveniently filed under ‘coach not manager’.
Also, the changing structure of clubs means the traditional role of the manager is changing too. Rangers have a director of football in Les Ferdinand and Ramsey is head coach. That said, man-management and various other managerial skills are still required in that role.
Can a coach ever succeed as a manager? Some have asked me on Twitter if there are any examples at all of this happening.
Well, Don Howe as head coach did an absolutely brilliant job at QPR.
I’ll stop there before I upset the Gerry Francis fans by attempting to correct his version of Rangers history!