Writer: Paul Thorp
Date:Tuesday May 29 2012
Lack of ambition, or lack of logic on the part of those that suspect he must leave
It has been suggested that Roberto Martinez is lacking in ambition if he does not take the big money moves to Liverpool or Aston Villa (twice). The argument for the prosecution is a simple one to make. Both clubs mentioned have a larger fan base, the expectation is also that there would be a larger budget to work with and a larger salary for Roberto at both clubs. If you consider just this evidence, it seems obvious that not to take one of these opportunities demonstrates he's comfortable in Little Wigan and doesn't want to test himself with the big boys. I expect the supporters who will tell you which team played best just by looking at the result on a Saturday afternoon would look at this evidence and declare it obvious Roberto is going to be gone by the end of the week. I ask whether it's a lack of ambition on Roberto's part or a lack of logic on the part of some supporters.
If a lack of ambition is keeping Martinez at Wigan, it was presumably the same 'lack of ambition' that kept Steven Gerrard at Liverpool a few years back, but they won't see it that way if Roberto turns them down. Each person, like Steven Gerrard, has 'their' club, as a supporter its usual to grow to love a particular club as you grow up. Fans changing clubs are often derided and it's considered a traitorous act to change clubs. Why is it so different, and you're expected to change if you're a manager. As a player the reality is that you will move clubs and people expect managers to do the same. Fans expect loyalty of fans, and expect treachery of players and managers, so much that it's not treachery, it's normal.
As a player, attachment to a single club is then often dependent on where your best memories are from. Roberto came to England and played for Wigan, I can't comment on his memories, but he certainly grew into English football with Wigan as his club. Graeme Jones had his best playing years at Wigan and it would be fair to say that this is also his club. So why move away if you feel you are at 'your club', feel you are making progress, and feel there is still work to be done, and more progress to be made.
I suggest it is actually more ambitious to want to keep total control of the club you love and seeing how far 'you' and your ideas can take them, putting yourself against the odds and seeking to triumph. Is this more ambitious than being part of a structure, where you would be sharing the responsibility, and seeing how far the committee can take a team, having people to blame if it doesn't work out? Is it more ambitious to have faith in your coaching staff to produce gems and triumph with your local team over the big boys, or is it more ambitious to get in a club where the plan is to spend millions on the latest form player, and not be able to change that plan?
We all know committees are places where compromise usually outranks vision. I would say staying put and having the success or failure totally on your shoulders, trying to take your little club into the big time is far more ambitious than settling comfortably into a corporate structure. Sorry, I mean keeping your club in the big time, we've proven in the closing weeks of the season we're closer already to the big time, by not only sharing a league with all the big boys, but by beating them all as well. Going off this lot it's hard to see how he could leave, if he's being backed by the Chairman. The ball seems to be in Uncle Dave's Court, and I suspect it has been since before this pantomime started.
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Date:Tuesday May 29 2012
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