web analytics
Ruben Amorim to Liverpool: Will he become a Mourinho or AVB?

Ruben Amorim to Liverpool: Will he become a Mourinho or AVB?

It looks very much like Ruben Amorim may well be the next Liverpool manager. And even if he isn’t, there’s every chance he’s going to rock up in the Premier League somewhere this summer so we still won’t have wasted our time.

Please, let it never be said that we’ve wasted our time/lives.

Anyway. Amorim. Be a fun appointment, we reckon. We’ve already admired his balls, and it’s certainly very brave to follow a legend. Very brave… or very foolish. History tells us that it’s much better to be the guy who follows the guy who follows the guy. The Arteta not the Emery.

But Amorim apparently says tits to all that. He’s ready to march in and take straight over from Jurgen Klopp’s heavy metal chaosball.

What makes him most interesting is that, relatively speaking, we know very little about him. Apart from his previously discussed balls. It would be his first job in a top league, and that is always an interesting situation.

He isn’t just new to the Barclays, but new to the very elite level of domestic club football. What he does have is unimpeachable pedigree at that slightly lower level. In his first full season with Sporting he ended a 19-year title drought. Barring something daft, he will deliver another title this year: Sporting boast a four-point lead with a game in hand and games ticking away for Benfica to do anything about it. Porto, Braga and the rest have long since been dropped.

READ: Five Sporting players Ruben Amorim could bring with him to Liverpool

So there we have the blueprint. A manager coming to take their first elite-league job in the Barclays on the back of a title-winning season in a weaker league. Who else has done that, and how did they fare in the harsher spotlight of Our League?

Rules are simple: title win in season immediately before coming to the Premier League. No previous management experience in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A or Ligue Un allowed. If you disagree with that definition of top leagues then fight us in the comments.

Ange Postecoglou
Won five of the six major domestic trophies available in his two years as Celtic manager before heading south and charming everyone at Spurs with his stupidly brilliant (and, occasionally, brilliantly stupid) football and unimpeachable Spoke Well, I Thought credentials.

Won manager of the month in each of his first three months in the Premier League while saying “mate” an awful lot.

A potential title challenge collapsed spectacularly amid a flurry of red cards and 0-8-1 formations and ruinous injuries a slimline partially-rebuilt squad couldn’t handle. But Postecoglou’s first season in England still constitutes a huge success, giving a Spurs squad that ended last season an absolute rabble and then sold its best ever player a new look, a new style, and very likely a place in next season’s Champions League.

They remain a quite frequently infuriating work in progress but the key word there is progress, which has been both swift and significant.

Erik Ten Hag
Enjoyed enormous success at Ajax, a club whose subsequent struggles only burnish Ten Hag’s achievements. Built a truly great side that should really have been in the 2019 Champions League final, but found itself unable to cope with the sheer all-consuming power of Spurs’ banter.

As that team was picked apart, Ten Hag would eventually follow to United who were keen to build on the success they’d enjoyed by bringing Donny van de Beek to Manchester from Ajax.

Ten Hag duly arrived and inexplicably brought Antony with him at ruinous expense.

Not a great start, sure, but his first season at United was absolutely fine. Two defeats in the first two games even ended up looking like a positive, providing as it did the opportunity for the new manager to properly tear things up and start again.

While a title challenge never truly materialised, United were a comfy third in the end and won the Carabao having also managed Cristiano Ronaldo out of the club via a Piers Morgan own goal. It could have been even better – they lost two cup finals after all – but it was all still a very good start.

The less said about this season, though, the better. It’s been sh*t. Ten Hag had been sh*t, United have been sh*t, and the club’s future on and off the pitch remains wildly uncertain.

Ten Hag is in no way the only reason United are the way they are. But he doesn’t look much like the solution right now either. Might yet be saved by the fact no one person is or ever could be.

READ: Five reasons Sir Jim Ratcliffe shouldn’t sack Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag

Marco Silva
Fair to say his Greek title with Olympiacos was not considered anything like sufficient qualification by the punditocracy when he had the temerity to rock up and think he could now manage one of the great clubs like Hull. Paul Merson’s “What does he know about Our League?” remains one of the great PFM bits of our time.

The answer now, of course, is quite a lot. Via Hull and Everton he has landed at Fulham and transformed them from yo-yo club to the platonic ideal of a mid-table club, one equally capable of taking four points off Arsenal and one point against Burnley. Even Merson must now concede Silva sits proudly as one of the most Barclays coded managers around.

Andre Villas-Boas
The suspicion around Silva, though, was nothing to that which greeted the arrival of massive nerd AVB at Chelsea in 2011.

The PFM would allow managers who had enjoyed only a modest paying career, but one who had no playing career at all? The idea that playing and coaching might possibly be two completely different jobs was quite simply not going to wash.

Maybe an AVB would be treated differently if he turned up today in an era slightly less suspicious of numbers and data and nerds, but he did also choose the hardest path. When the last manager to go from winning domestic and European titles with Porto to the Chelsea dugout immediately announces himself the Special One to an enthralled press pack, a slightly odd bloke with no playing experience who looks a bit like Rimmer off of Red Dwarf is on a hiding to nothing.

It was predictably a disaster. Did keep Chelsea in the Champions League before his sacking, which would prove important later, and he was better at Spurs than people remember. Arguably deserved more time there than he was granted for the post-Bale rebuild with his infamous Magnificent Seven signings.

Has since turned up at Zenit and Marseille, dabbled in motorsport and taken to giving really quite intensely odd speeches where he refers to himself in the third person with genuinely chilling frequency.

Jose Mourinho
The OG. Nobody was doubting Mourinho’s credentials, of course, having been smart enough to also include ‘winning the actual Champions League, conspicuously and thoroughly rubbing Man United’s nose in it along the way’ to ‘winning tinpot league’ to his pre-Barclays credentials.

Everyone expected him to be good, most of all Mourinho himself, and he absolutely was. Easy to forget now just how ingrained the United-Arsenal duopoly was at the top of the Premier League before Mourinho came along and blew it apart, never to return.

Mourinho’s first Chelsea spell may have lasted only three-and-a-bit years – something we would later discover would place it very much on the longer side of a Mourinho reign – it was one that fundamentally shifted the Premier League sands. Other teams had prodded and poked at United and Arsenal here and there, but Chelsea were the first to consistently land blows year on year.

Mourinho won the title in his first two seasons, racking up 95 and 91 points respectively. The 15 goals conceded by his first Chelsea title-winners remains one of those statistics surely destined never to be matched. That broke Arsenal’s 1998/99 record of 17 and nobody has got within seven goals of breaking Mourinho’s record since.

Mourinho left Chelsea and the Barclays in high dudgeon for further success at Inter and Real Madrid but just couldn’t stay away. Returned to Chelsea to claim a third Premier League title before the now familiar exit routine and has returned to Our League twice more with Manchester United and Spurs and very much diminishing returns.

We still aren’t remotely convinced we’ve seen the last of him here, either.

READ: Top ten Premier League managers of all time

Read More

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *