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Discussion Starter #1
Management can be a lot like musical chairs: Stop in the wrong place at the wrong time and you'll end up with your rear end on the concrete. Consider the strange stories -- independent yet intersecting -- of Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez and Claudio Ranieri.

Last season Ranieri guided Chelsea to second place in the Premiership (the club's best finish in 49 years) and the semifinals of the Champions League. It wasn't enough to avoid getting fired, however, sending him Valencia's way to replace Benitez.

All Benitez did last year was win La Liga (his second Spanish crown in three years) and the UEFA Cup. Yet -- guess what? -- it wasn't enough to keep his job. Valencia didn't even bother offering him a new deal until the spring and, even then, it limited his powers in terms of buying and selling players. So Benitez bolted for Liverpool, taking on an enormous reconstruction job after seven years of Gerard Houllier-inspired follies.

The careers of two of these men crossed last Sunday, when Liverpool lost the English League Cup final to Chelsea, which is coached by Mourinho, the man who replaced Ranieri. The Portuguese Mourinho got the Chelsea gig after winning the Portuguese league and the Champions League with Porto. Of the three managers, he is the only one who actually made an upward, move rather than a lateral one.

At first glance, Mourinho's career prospects are head and shoulders above the other two. But that only tells part of the story.

True, Mourinho's Chelsea not only won the League Cup -- it sits atop the English Premiership while Valencia and Liverpool both are mired in fifth place. But Mourinho spent five times as much money on signings as the other two coaches and, with the exception of Ricardo Carvalho (who, at $38 million, didn't come cheap), most of them (Didier Drogba, Thiago, Paulo Ferreira, Mateja Kezman) have been rather humdrum.

Indeed, Chelsea's best players this season either came through the ranks (such as John Terry) or were signed by none other than Ranieri: Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele and Damien Duff, as well as Petr Cech and Arjen Robben, who were bought last winter, when Ranieri was still in charge.

But for all of Ranieri's prowess on the transfer wire for Chelsea, his activities at Valencia have been less than impressive. It's not so much that he signed bad players, it's just that he brought in guys who didn't fit, such as Stefano Fiore, for whom there was no logical place in the formation, or Bernardo Corradi, who appears unsuited to La Liga. Indeed, if Ranieri usually plays with a single front man -- he already has Mista, who scored 19 goals last year -- was it really necessary to spend another $35 million for two more strikers like Corradi and Marco Di Vaio?

So Ranieri is not a transfer genius. But if Valencia is worse now than a year ago, it's because Benitez, the true master, is no longer there. Of course, what does one make of Benitez's spell at Liverpool?

The Reds are not just 25 points behind Chelsea; they're fifth, a full eight points behind crosstown rival Everton, a club that was on the verge of bankruptcy last summer. Apart from Xabi Alonso (currently injured) and Fernando Morientes, Benitez's signings -- Josemi, Luis Garcia, Mauricio Pellegrino and Antonio Nuñez -- largely look like duds. Benitez may have plenty of mitigating reasons -- an unreal succession of injuries, the continuing controversy surrounding his best player, Steven Gerrard, and the difficult job of sorting through the mess he inherited from Houllier -- but the simple truth is that Liverpool is lower in the table now than it was under Houllier. And that is not a good thing.

So what does all this mean? Simply that assessing managers is far from simple, and often fraught with contradictions. They all make mistakes, sometimes egregious ones. Still, they're not as incompetent as they sometimes appear and, clearly, they're not as bright as they would like us to think. We're supposed to judge them by their results, but even these often are down to elements largely outside their control, such as players, referees and sheer dumb luck (or lack thereof).

Maybe a manager's single biggest skill is simply being in the right place at the right time...

Gabriele Marcotti
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Interesting article and it got me thinking, If Ranieri didn't buy Robben would Chelsea be top right now and by this margin? If the Adriano deal went through for Ranieri in the winter of 2003/2004 would Chelsea be champions already? Would Porto win the Champions league? Would Mourinho or Drogba be at Chelsea? etc etc so many things that would make everything so different now.

Don't get me wrong Im no fan of Ranieri and I think Mourinho is better(although his talent scouting leaves alot to be desired) but Marcotti has a point, For managers its not so easy to say who is 'great' or 'crap'.
 

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i think the problem all these managers have is their blind faith in their own countrymen. the signing of many of these players defies logic, corradi would never have come close to the first 11 in valencia, pellegrino never really proved to be anything more than a squad player at valencia and thiago is well outstripped by his own fellow country man maniche who is still in portugal.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Drogba? For me its just piss poor judgement. Ferreira for £18million? Drogba £26million? Tiago? Kezman? come on Mourinho is a top coach but this doesn't look like such genius for the manager with the biggest transfer budget ever. He will probably win things with Chelsea but its more than arguable that other managers with smaller repuations and trophy cabinets could of done the job at Chelsea to similar effect.

Im not knocking Mourinho at all and I rate him up there with the best but someone like Ranieri doesn't seem THAT awful when you look deeper and take into consideration the many factors that make one a champion.

Anyway when it comes to the whole 'act' nobody touches Mourinho, He is a class act and a pleasure to watch infront the camera but skillwise I'd say he is a top manager but nothing that hasn't been done before. I'd even go as far as saying Wenger is a more revolutionary coach to England. Im just being honest now and forget the banter I have with Arsenal fans on here and the entertainment value Mourinho gives me but in my unbias opinion Im more impressed by Wenger as a manager than Mourinho who is good but a Capello style manager with so far worse judgement in players, less experienced and less humble but like I said he is a top manager that will get alot of success.
 

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Faisal said:
Tell Moratti that, Alot is based on judgement and luck too.
The major reason for success in the world of football is money.
 

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you've got to judge them over a long period not just one year, but of course luck plays a part, but luck won't last forever.
 

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Faisal said:
Yeah most of the time thats true, Not always.
Who are the Richest teams in Spain, England, Italy...

Who are the most success team ins Spain, England and Italy?
 

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great article... really got me thinking... personally i think that tactical acumen is more important as buying players... i mean managers select formations and teams, but its the scouts who really find the talent...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Success can come to teams that aren't so rich, Obviously most of the time and over the course of X amount of years the richer clubs will have more overall success than the not so rich. But If we are talking about 1 or 2 seasons then shocks can happen.
 

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YeaVerily said:
great article... really got me thinking... personally i think that tactical acumen is more important as buying players... i mean managers select formations and teams, but its the scouts who really find the talent...
At the highest level there is little need for scouts.

Any decent manager knows about the likes of Heinze, Rooney etc.
 

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Faisal said:
Success can come to teams that aren't so rich, Obviously most of the time and over the course of X amount of years the richer clubs will have more overall success than the not so rich. But If we are talking about 1 or 2 seasons then shocks can happen.
Indeed. But ths is few and far between.
 

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Can't believe Valencia paid 35 million for Corradi and Di Vaio. :eekani:

if it's possible, i'm bringing Ranieri along to my next job interview ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
South_Melbourne said:
At the highest level there is little need for scouts.

Any decent manager knows about the likes of Heinze, Rooney etc.

Yeah exactly its not exactly like finding players in the desert or something, If you have the top money then buy top players, Why buy Drogba for the same price Rooney cost when the difference between both players is huge? I mean Drogba is a capable striker but would you go out and spend that much on him even if you were a fan? Why get a decent RB in Ferreira for some insane price? Tiago Kezman etc. I mean these players aren't bad and can do their job more than ok but the point is someone like Wenger Im sure would of spent it to much better effect and whos to say Wenger's Chelsea wouldn't be a far stronger force than this one? I doesn't take a transfer geniss to see Drogba is so overpriced is silly and that Ranieri even for all his faults has made some key signings contributing towards Chelsea's success so far this season(Robben Cech Makelele Lamps etc)

Anyway the article made me did raise some very interesting points. All these guys aren't gods nor shit like people make out.
 

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course there's a need for scouts, for a start most managers don't have time to go and watch every player they like, and you can always nick a great bargain from good scouting.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Tolga said:
You can't blame a manager for the cost of a player..

In most cases, the manager just hands a list to the board of directors, and they'll go ahead and make the transfers in accordance to the manager's wishes..

Abramovich doesn't really seem to like long drawn out negotiations, and he has the money to go splashing it out on getting a player, so he does just that..
If you think about it, Chelsea is actually just signing players for more or less the initial asking price of the other clubs. Most teams who are tight with their budget will negotiate, whereas Chelsea doesn't have that problem as long as Abramovich is around..
So what does that mean then? That they can only go after Drogbas for insane prices?

If Roman is so loaded then just go for broke, **** overspenting on decent/good players when you can just go out and buy the big guns and getting the effect on the teams strengh from that sort of quality.


(P.S I don't mean overbuy Moratti style, Nor galacticos BS like Perez, Just the top quality talent that is needed)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Jern Lizardhous said:
course there's a need for scouts, for a start most managers don't have time to go and watch every player they like, and you can always nick a great bargain from good scouting.

Yeah thats true, Plus buying great scouts would help alot. But who is going to scout the scouts? :pp
 
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