MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Only fans are capable of real loyalty
8:40am Wednesday 6th June 2012 in Michael Pearlman
A COUPLE of months ago I wrote a column debating whether Swansea’s Brendan Rodgers or Norwich’s Paul Lambert was most deserving of the accolade of Premier League manager of the season.
That was before Newcastle’s amazing end to the campaign and as someone who championed the cause of the two excellent young managers, it was no surprise to see them get moves to ‘bigger’ clubs and, in this instance, former European champions.
The reaction to both appointments has generally been positive, both bosses showing that they deserve a crack at reviving sleeping giants. And don’t forget football is an industry where we constantly bemoan young and British managers not getting their opportunity.
However, while as a neutral I can see exactly why both bosses made their moves, as ever there are ways and means and both managers will rightly be booed out of the building on their returns to Carrow Road and the Liberty.
As much as I don’t doubt Rodgers’ genuine affinity for Swansea, he was not up front with the fans.
Saying you won’t leave and are committed to the cause and then walking out at the first offer is the quintessential manner in which to turn fans against you.
Why should Swansea supporters care what is best for Brendan Rodgers? He told them one thing and did another and they’ll vilify him on his return. That’s reality and it’s a fair one too.
And what of Paul Lambert, who absolutely humiliated a journalist a fortnight ago in angrily reacting to a question about Villa. It was like a Catherine Tate sketch. “How very dare you question my loyalty?” And yet here he is, the new manager of Villa. Don’t suppose he’ll apologise to the journalist.
Sadly, the only people truly loyal to a football club are its supporters, unless you have the money of Chelsea or Man City.
And that’s a lesson you’re likely to learn over and over again.