One Of The Greatest Minds In Football, Sol? Prove It!

“I’m intelligent enough, it’s not like I played on a fox and dog pitch all my life. I can’t believe some people, I’m one of the greatest minds in football and I’m being wasted because of a lack of experience or ‘maybe he talks his mind too much’.

Go to Germany, they love people who speak their minds. They got the jobs. I’m sorry that I’ve got a mind, but don’t be scared of that. That should be something you want at your club, but obviously not.”

That’s what Sulzeer ‘Sol’ Campbell said after he got turned down for the Oxford job recently. One can only imagine it was ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek because it is an absolutely ludicrous claim to make, especially considering he hasn’t worked at a football club for almost eight years. Surely if you were that good, someone would have picked you up by now, wouldn’t they?

However, he hits the nail on the head himself yet he is yet to do anything about it. If they love people who speak their minds and you’re so clearly one of those individuals, why wouldn’t you go to Germany and try and forge a career?

Look Beyond The End Of Your Nose, Sol

That’s what many British coaches are doing at the moment; seeking pastures new away from the UK because the opportunities aren’t available. It’s not just you Sol, some clubs can’t afford to risk it with someone who hasn’t got any experience. Of course, there will always be an exception to the rule, that’s the nature of the beast, however, the time has come to think outside the box. Which is luckily why I am here!

You’re probably wondering what this is doing on an ISL site. I’m getting to that, calm down. The ISL is known for giving rookie managers a chance and because there is no chance of relegation etc, there’s no risk involved, either. Let’s take a look at some examples…

ATK hired Teddy Sheringham at the beginning of the season just gone and his only managerial experience beforehand was in charge of Stevenage, which let’s be honest, didn’t go well. Bear in mind, this is an ATK side that were reigning champions when they hired the ex-Man United striker. Yes, it all went wrong, but they gave him a chance. Who is their manager now? Robbie Keane.

Admittedly, he’s only filling in for the time being after Ashley Westwood left before the final game of the season, but he’s doing alright, isn’t he? He’s been in charge for two games and won the pair of him. There’s another name there Ashley Westwood, before he took charge of Bengaluru in 2013 his only experience as a gaffer was a spell at Kettering. KETTERING.     

David James Had No Experience

Next up, we’ll take a view at Kerala; after a strong finish to the season (yeah that’s right, Dimi), David James got rewarded with an additional year to see what damage he can do over the full season. His previous experience? Nada. With this example, he did have experience of playing for Kerala, but there’s a big difference between playing and coaching. Just ask Glenn Hoddle. Useless twat.

Gigi Zambrotta is the next case study on the list. Prior to taking over at Delhi Dynamos, his only managerial position experience was with FC Chiasso in the Swiss Challenge League. Hardly blockbuster is it? Marco Materazzi is another Italian on the list; he led Chennaiyin to their first ever ISL title with no experience whatsoever.

Arguably the best gaffer in the division, Albert Roca, has only recently been seen managing at El Salvador. He is now in the process of building a dynasty at Bengaluru, although it remains to be seen if he will stay another year at this present moment.

If Platt Can Get A Job Then There’s Hope For All

We’ll close the list with Mr David Platt. FOURTEEN years after managing England U21s, he popped up in India to manage Pune. I think they must’ve just seen that goal against Belgium and gave him the job, there’s no other explanation. Why am I telling you this?

To show that the opportunities are there. If Sol Campbell would throw his hat into the ring for any for any of the ISL jobs that undoubtedly become available over the next few months, the likelihood is, someone would take a chance on him.

NorthEast have got absolutely nothing to lose by giving Campbell a chance because their attendance on the last day wasn’t even 2,000, they finished bottom and quite frankly, looked dreadful. That’s not a swipe at Avram Grant incidentally, the damage was already done when he and Eelco Schattorie took over from Joao de Deus.

Put yourself in John Abraham’s shoes, for now, you are John Abraham (NorthEast owner). Whether or not Avram stays is still up in the air, albeit for this scenario, we are going to say he decides he doesn’t want to continue at the ‘Highlanders’, which he is well within his rights to do.

Instant Respect From The Players

Sol Campbell approaches you and says he wants to take charge of your side. He explains that he hasn’t got any managerial experience, nonetheless, he’s qualified up to his eyeballs and is a well-known name in English football. You do a bit of research and establish that he’s very outspoken and has contacts within a lot of media outlets within the UK. You then begin to imagine the media fanfare if you give him the job. You imagine the instant respect that the players will have for an ex-England international. You hire him.

What happens after that is entirely down to Campbell. It’s certainly plausible that Abraham would think like that though and at the end of the day, it’s a win-win. Gates go back up, more income. Campbell can probably pull a few strings and get some big names. Campbell himself get his foot in the door of the managerial world which in turn means he’s more likely to get a job in the UK in the long-term.

Another side who could consider him is ATK, although, after their similar experiment with Sheringham, you’d think that they wouldn’t be so keen to go down the same route again. One thing is for sure, Campbell would certainly get the buzz back around Kolkata for football as, towards the end of the season, it had dropped off quite substantially.

In The Long Run, You Know It Makes Sense

Instead of wondering why Michael Jolley got the Grimsby job as opposed to you, take a look past the fact that neither of you have managerial experience in England. Take a look at the fact that Jolley has a history of managing in Scandinavia.

Nothing is ever a given in life and that is especially true in football, further down the line though, when Sol applies for a job in the footballing pyramid once more in the UK, he is much more likely to be considered if he has experience on there.

Why not make that experience India, Sol? Who knows, you might even end up enjoying!    

Until the next time.    

About the Author

Jake Flock
Football and writing are my two biggest passions, so seems right to combine the pair, don't you think?