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Hogan, 1955: What makes a good manager?

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-02-01 14:12:09

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Jimmy Hogan | 08/03/1955 —

When I was a professional footballer before the first World War, the average manager was a shrewd business man who had never kicked a ball in his life. Of late, the tendency has been to appoint an ex-professional player for this all-important post. I thoroughly agree with the modern idea and believe that teams should be ruled by men who have passed through the dressing rooms and the mill of experience.
The big question at the moment, however, is why thirteen of these managers have either resigned or been dismissed during the present season.
Having been a manager myself — and still feeling fit and capable of holding such a position — I think I am qualified to pass an opinion. And it is that both clubs and managers are to blame for the present state of affairs. QUALITIES.
It doesn't necessarily follow that a man who has had a long and distinguished playing career will make a first-class manager. Indeed, I know of a big League club which has many of its former players in managerial positions, but only one of them has done any good.
No, there are other qualities that count, as well as having been a player. A manager must have personality, he must be able to handle men and to put matters over in such a way as to gain the players' confidence. The manager must be able to maintain discipline, used discretion when necessary, and, above all, to work with that fellow-feeling, remembering that he himself was once a player.
Do clubs go deeply enough into these matters before appointing a former player as manager? Or do they apply only guesswork and hope? I must say that when I unsuccessfully tried to get back in the game as manager it seemed more of the latter. I sometimes wondered why somebody else had been preferred to me, especially when the lucky applicant came from a club which was struggling at the bottom of the League table. And such things are happening today. THE BLAME.
I must put some of the blame on clubs for not making a more thorough investigation about a man's capabilities before employing him as manager.
I also attach blame to the managers. All too often they fail to get a proper agreement with their respective clubs. There are some who desire full control with regard to team selection, to the buying and selling of players, the scouting system and so on. Others prefer not to take full responsibility, who would rather have these matters submitted for discussion by directors.
These are points which should be made clear between club and managers, and on which proper agreement should be reached. ESSENTIAL.
The managerial position is such an important one in British football that it is essential there should be no square pegs in round holes. Influence should not be used in any way in the filling of vacancies. The yard-stick must be a man's capability for the job.
The last game between Great Britain and the Rest of Europe, at Glasgow, was farcical in that no players from Hungary, Austria or Germany were selected in a team which did not really represent the Rest of Europe at all.
I feel delighted that a second match has been arranged for August 13 at Windsor Park, Belfast, and that my old friend and former pupil Gustáv Sebes, of Budapest, has been appointed to take charge of the Continental XI. I feel sure he will make a good job of it.
Personally, I would like to see Aston Villa's Con Martin appointed as captain of the Rest of Europe side (as Johnny Carey was last time). Con is playing as well as any centre-half in the game present. OUTSTANDING.
In addition to George Orth and Joseph Braun, to whom I referred last week, I had other outstanding players in my old M.T.K. team in Budapest. Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland, when touring Hungary, made great efforts to persuade our inside left, Alfréd Schaffer, to return to England with them.
Alfréd was a wonderful player whom I christened the "blond assassin." He was 6ft. 2in., and built proportionately. What a shot he had!
Schaffer's best friend was Ferenc Plattkó, the Hungarian international goalkeeper, who played for "Vasas," the Iron-workers' XI who were allowed to train on the M.T.K. ground.
One evening Plattkó gave his usual grand display in a training game and afterwards Schaffer, who had been watching, told him: "You played very well this evening, Ferenc. But I shall score six goals against you on Sunday."
I head this remark, and told Schaffer: "Don't be so boastful." Full of confidence, he replied: "Jimmy 'Bácsi', I shall score six goals." And before a crowd of 20.000 the following Sunday, the big blond hit the back of the net half a dozen times to the utter consternation of his pal, Plattkó.
Plattkó, I might tell you, did not appreciate the gesture when Schaffer offered him his hand after scoring the sixth!