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Underperforming players should be in the dock . . .

To lose one head coach may be regarded as a misfortune, but to lose both looks like carelessness.

Within the space of a month, both the Scotland national football and rugby teams have lost their manager: Craig Levein was sacked and Andy Robinson resigned. Both teams have chronically underperformed recently.

The football team put themselves out of the running for qualification for the 2014 World Cup within the first four qualifying matches while the rugby team suffered what is widely regarded as their worst ever result a couple of weekends ago in losing to Tonga.

Both the SFA and the SRU are now frantically searching for some kind of Merlin-like figure who can magically turn around the fortunes of their respective teams.

I would argue, however, that the focus is in the wrong area. Whoever ends up being appointed to the roles will have the same group of players to work with as Levein and Robinson. So is it not too much to expect the manager to be a miracle worker? Should we not be looking more closely at the players who have so dreadfully underperformed?

The poor recent results seem to have been attributed almost wholly to the managers. Admittedly, neither did themselves any favours at times: Levein's 4-6-0 formation against the Czech Republic was fatal with regards to the fans' attitude towards him while Robinson's inconsistent selection policy made him look unsure of both himself and of his tactics.

While it is the players who step across the white line and have a duty to perform, invariably, it is the manager who is the fall guy.

This theory that a change of manager will revolutionise a team is, in my mind, totally misguided. I appreciate that in team sports the international manager has the responsibility of organising players who do not play together day-in, day-out but that, surely, is not rocket science.

These players are professionals who are well remunerated for what they do, although their salary should be irrelevant. Professional pride should be enough to prevent some of these inept performances that have been witnessed recently.

If I underperformed or failed to get the required results as a member of the Scottish badminton team, I was held accountable. It was my funding that was cut, my fitness test targets that were increased.

Admittedly, both Kenny Miller and Al Kellock have conceded that the players must take responsibility for these poor results and that they feel sympathy for their respective managers who now find themselves unemployed due to the lacklustre performances of the players. It is, however, very easy to say this when you know that there will be few consequences.

I realise that there isn't the option of sacking the players in the same way that a manager can be disposed of. But there must be more focus on the failings of the players rather than consistently laying the blame at the manager's door. I didn't play any better or any worse depending on who was the team manager. In fact, some of my best results were in team events although I acknowledge that badminton is not readily comparable to football or rugby.

Instead of spending fortunes hiring and firing national coaches, we should be focusing more on developing players who are willing to take responsibility and who do not slink into the background when things are not going according to plan.

Gordon Strachan or Sean Lineen, or whoever is appointed at Hampden and Murrayfield, will not be able to improve the national team's technical ability: they will only have contact with them for a very small percentage of the season, so it would be optimistic to expect them to be able to make significant changes in that area.

Instead, the next national coaches must focus on making the current crop of players more accountable. The result of that may be that the manager is able to sleep easier at night instead of worrying about being handed his P45.

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