Project Managers for the future!

The last weeks there have been several persons in and around the team giving testament on the impact of Zola and Clark. Most every player but Davenport has spoken to the press about the trust they are given, how Zola and Clarke work on an individual basis with the development of the players while trying to get the individual fit into a game plan. Just what you would like to hear from inside your team.
The last example is Collison enjoying the impact of the new manager
A typical statement is the one by Noble in an interview in (or reiterated by) “Goal” - "I'm on my fifth manager now. I've seen Alan Pardew and Alan Curbishley and I also travelled a few times with Trevor Brooking and Glenn Roeder, but the way these two [Zola and Clarke] bounce off each other is brilliant. They complete each other and know exactly how they want us to play. The gaffer came in and he put so much belief into everyone that we go out and play freely. You listen to him when he talks to you and he builds that confidence inside you to go out, try your best for him and play with a smile on your face.”

What is the problem here, this is what we all want to hear, right?

The paranoical grouch in me also says that a cult of personality like the one starting to build around Zola is not always a good thing, for a few reasons.

Firstly the focus and hopes that are now on Zola and Clark is most likely a part of the pendulum movement that is a fundamental part of the media nature. What is inevitable is that the media pendulum, at the moment hailing the duo, will swing in the other direction, probably as soon as we go through a spell of less than good results. That will also be an opportunity for the players, not getting their chance under the current regime, to have their say on the problems with Zola/Clarke, at the moment nobody dares to do that. That will be a test of Zola’s leadership (admittedly he handled Davenport well), as well as that of the board. The board must give Zola all backing possible during the hard times that will come to make sure that he keeps wanting to work with his West Ham Project.
Secondly if really Zola/Clark succeeds in keeping the players thinking that the duo is the best thing that happened to their career, it will be very hard to keep the ones invited from following their mentors when they move on and I just can’t take another talent drain like the one we experienced at the turn of the century (allways wanted to write that).

What... moves on!?

Well, I do think he means it when he says he likes to build things. To the Times Zola said "A manager cannot do a job that easily in football," "You need to plan and work, you need to be allowed time to change players and shape of team. It took me a long time and maybe I would have been sacked at a different club after two months, so you definitely need time."
At the moment he is building our team and I am in no doubt that he enjoys this (a testament of this is found HERE). The duo will, I believe, be true to this project as long as it seems to be moving in the right direction and with the right pace, and also obviously if they get the right backing from the board.
Zola does, however, think of his West Ham job as a project, and that is showing through in most interviews. In the Telegraph article (linked above), for example, he says “My duty now is to improve this team so it gets better. So far I haven't given this club enough; this is just the beginning" to me that’s the words of a Project Manager.
Also, despite Zolas recently trying to deny it, he most certainly has a long term plan also for himself. Maybe not carved in stone or even written down in a .doc document, but somewhere deep inside I think he nourishes the dream of returning to Chelsea. It's only reasonable with his background and you can't really blame him can you? This obviously also goes for Clarke who must feel that Stamford bridge is more or less his second home after being in the west side club for I don’t know how many years.
If Zola and Clarke have the impact on our team and the success we all are longing for there will come a time when an offer from Chelski will be very hard to resist.

So to sum it up: Zola and Clarke, if successful, will leave for Chelsea one day and we need to postpone this for as long as we can and make sure they don’t take our best boys with them.
Now that’s another tough one for the board.


Prince H said...

I can't see that you should worry to see Zola and ClarkE enticed to Chelski for another 3-4 years. I think they a have a plan for THIS club. I mean, they do not bring in kids here, norish them and just leave them just when they start to deliver. I may be wrong, but I do actually feel that Zola enjoys to work with young players.
He will hardly be able to do that at Chelski as long as the club is ruled the way it is. He was not interested to join the Russian revolution when Abra came, and he canät see him change his mind right now. Alright one day... they all will leave, they all will think that they have done what they were able to, but I do not see the use of worry right now. If you want to worry, woory about who'll buy this club and what consequences that will make. Instead: Enjoy the moment! Enjoy the Zola happy revolution!

Joppe - said...

I interpret what you're saying as: you're right but don't worry be happy.
Of course they have a plan, as I point out they are good project managers!

Obviously you are not a paranoical grouch, good for you :)