Saturday, December 26, 2015

Soccer Logic: Underperform and thy boss shall get the sack!

It's the 'in-thing' now, isn't it? If you have been following EPL this season, you know what I am talking about.

If you happen to be a religious person, there's a strong possibility that your scripture promotes hard work and not to worry about outcome. If you are an atheist, you may follow "work is worship" quote. If you are an atheist and don't follow "work is worship" ideology, you will still (have to) work hard for money. If you follow sports, you will give your heart, soul and blood (metaphorically, in most cases) for your team. If you are a musician, you will practice and practice to get that perfect symphony with your fellow musicians. If you are a writer / blogger, you will always strive to write better than your previous post. That's called improvement, striving to outperform your previous achievement.

I get that.

But why, just why, will you ever under-perform? Maybe, I know the reason. Its only because you have something to gain by under-performing and the person / group you don't like has everything to lose. Simple.

Take Chelsea for instance -  
2014-15 - English champions, top quality players, a top manager in Jose Mourinho. 
2015-16 (so far): Among the bottom six, fighting with relegation candidates, players looking like a shadow of their previous self, manager fired.

Jose Mourinho fired by Chelsea 2015-2016
Quite an incredible turnaround right? How, in the world, can a championship winning team keep on losing match after match with the same set of "top" players? And its not just the same set of players, there were additions too, some of them top class. And still lose every other game? In my opinion, this can possibly happen due to three reasons - either the opposition improved by leaps and bounds / all their top quality players lost form and confidence / the whole team underperformed in unison. Opposition improved, that's for sure, but not above the quality of Chelsea players. All the top quality players losing form at the same time is a highly unlikely event. That leaves only one option - under-performance. Chelsea had more or less the same strategy as last season. So I don't buy the argument of Mourinho getting his tactics wrong. Logically, if Mourinho has been fired, the same should apply to the team as well, definitely for some key players in the coming transfer window. And what's more baffling for me is that a team like Chelsea chose to oversee the repercussion of this decision. Mourinho is now free to join a top team in England. And there are suitors too. Manchester United, for instance. So you will get a situation where Chelsea will face a team managed by Mourinho in England! A costly mistake, in my opinion.

Ever imagined such a thing in the corporate world? Maybe it happens, but mostly at the senior management level, I guess.

Coming back to the discussion, I have always believed that a boss is only as good or as bad as his team. Boss / manager's role is to give strategic and tactical direction and his / her teams role is to perform. Everyone performs to his own strength. Simple and straightforward, isn't it? Not at all because performance is not the only dynamics we have. Include personal enmity, ego, politics and you have a myriad of possible outcomes at hand. Time will tell if Chelsea's decision to sack their manager was right, but by then, another manager will get the boot (sic). 

And the cycle will continue. And continue.

PS: If you know me, you also know that I am not a Chelsea / Mourinho fan, infact far from it. I am an Arsenal fan (now you know the background of my above argument). 

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