Monday, 28 November 2011

Do fans really want success or are they just happy to be entertained?

For me, the sport I love has always been about winning.

Whether it’s Ireland in a World Cup or a kick about in the park, winning was all that mattered.

Even if we didn’t play well - winning made the sport entertaining.

I always felt that while the match may not have been an entertaining spectacle, it felt great to play so bad and still win.

Qualification for the European Championships this month was a massive success.

All the hard work, combined with this perceived lack of entertainment, surmounted to winning qualification to a major tournament for the first time in ten years.

The criticism of Giovanni Trapattoni’s reign over the Irish team should have grinded to a halt after his victory over Estonia.

Instead, critics have now turned their attention to telling the public how bad Ireland are going to do at the Championships next summer.

Even if Ireland were to lose every game 5-0, the campaign would still go down as the furthest Ireland have gone in 10 years.

The furthest in the European Championships in 22 years.

Yet now some journalists are saying we will be found out by the likes of Spain, Germany and Holland when we get there.

Found out?

As in the best three teams in the world will prove that they are better than a team made up from the bottom half of the Premier League?

Surely success came in the qualification and anything beyond is even more of a bonus for this Irish team?

Yet a large portion of Irish supporters want Giovanni out.

Sick of the style of football, no matter how successful.

Compare this to the situation at Arsenal right now.

Arsene Wenger, one of the greatest managers in the world, has led his team to play some of the best football the Premier League has ever seen.

Yet he is nowhere near as successful as Giovanni.

Arsene will hope to some day be mentioned in the same breath as Giovanni when it comes to the amount of major honours he’s won.

But right now, he is not even close to adding to his tally.

He is currently overseeing his seventh season since he won a trophy.

But by playing such entertaining football during this barren spell, he was able to keep the terraces happy.

Gordon Strachan and Martin O’Neill is another interesting example at Celtic.

Gordon had the better record as manager.

Yet the supporters never really took to him despite twice taking the Glasgow team to the last 16 of the Champions League and winning the same number of league titles as Martin but in fewer seasons.

Gordon didn’t have nearly as much money as Martin and was forced to work with a weaker squad.

Yet most Celtic supporters will tell you they’d prefer to see Martin back in the hot seat.

Martin and his entertaining ways.

Finally, you have the situation at Chelsea.

There’s no chance Arsene would have been allowed 6 seasons in charge of Chelsea with such a lack of success.

Giovanni would no doubt have had success at the helm but the feeling is that Roman Abramovich demands entertainment and success.

And even when they had that in the shape of Jose Mourinho or Carlo Ancelotti, it only lasted as long as the success was there.

Hefty prices have been paid in trying to obtain both.

And he still can’t win the Champions League no matter how much money he spends.

The aim in football has always been to have an entertaining and successful side.

This is not always possible with the resources some sides have.

Especially in the international arena.

Roman has the right idea about this.

And the resources.

He is just living proof of how hard it is to have both.
At the end of the day though - Roman shares the same belief as myself.

Football is all about winning.

Yet some supporters of this beautiful game, just don’t find joy in being successful...

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