In football, teams will always be judged by one thing: Results. Join me next week for more mind-boggling revelations...
That is the nature of this sport, there is a huge pre-occupation with wanting to see instant results. Progress has to be made at a rapid rate, and if it isn’t, you can go from a manager in the second division, to spending your mornings with Jeremy Kyle.
For me, immediate gratification is a dangerous thing to seek, if you are truly serious about wanting to see sustainable improvement.
The importance of a footballing philosophy has to be prioritised, ahead of marquee signings and having to please the fans.
So how lucky are we to have one of the most pragmatic men in football at the helm? Sean O’Driscoll’s impressive style isn’t just a result of playing pretty football either, his theories and ideas of how the game should be played delves in the pioneering.
Reading about his musings of the win over Sheffield Wednesday, I could not believe the depth of his analysis. He was bemoaning why full backs take throw-ins, and highlighted the 35 minutes of the game where the ball was not in play. ‘What are you going to do with those 35 minutes?’ He asks. ‘If you’re disorganised and undisciplined then that’s going to cost you.’
He never switches off. Not for 90 minutes in a match, not for a second in a week. I admit, it is customary to fall in love with a new manager, especially when things are going this well. It’s like a wonderful blend of Stockholm Syndrome and the honeymoon period. Yet, we are far from a finished article.
What I have noticed over time, is that the blueprint for success is down to a universally accepted style of play embedded within a club. If a certain theory permeates every level of a team, down to youth levels and even finds acceptance amongst the fans, you begin to replicate success over a longer period of time.
On Sunday, we saw Barcelona field an all-academy XI against Levante. For a team considered to be one of the best in history, no amount of hyperbole could do justice to such a phenomenal achievement.
It is largely believed you need to splash the cash to get anywhere in this gluttonous world of football, but their continued investment into youth development, and sharing the ‘tika-taka’ approach throughout the whole club might just show that big money signings are not always the answer (cough, QPR, cough).
Seeing as Barcelona are on the cusp of world domination, we should perhaps compare ourselves to a more relevant model. Swansea City’s rise through the leagues resonates a lot better with us.
They have gradually improved every season, and because of their wonderful footballing philosophy, they have lost managers in Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers but continued to do well. They know how to anaesthetise games, and that comes from a shared belief within Swansea City FC.
‘Philosophy’ is synonymous with attractive football, but it really does work in other ways. When Stoke decided to become the huge, scary basketball team from Space Jam, and evolved into this incredibly physical, but devilishly difficult to defeat club, they cemented themselves as a Premier League team, went to a cup final, and even played in Europe, against the likes of Valencia...(who are said to still have sore necks to this day after their first encounter with ‘aerial bombardment’).
Sean O’Driscoll doesn’t look at football in a traditional, linear way. He does not watch a game, but rather assesses if players are doing the right things, at the right time.
Like he did in his successful stays with Doncaster and Bournemouth, he is building teams on the strengths of his own theories and ideas.
Discipline, organisation and clarity have always been O’Driscoll’s main weapons. Now armed with what seems to be an endless supply of fridge-magnate cash, this isn’t just a huge chance for Nottingham Forest to recapture the glory days, but for the world to see what a talented boss we have at The City Ground.
Who knows, perhaps he’ll go on to be one of our more... ‘iconic’ managers?