Ian Holloway: Mancini may be capable of matching master of mind games – but why try?
Mancini is laid back, and he has won things. Keegan hadn’t won anything
Sunday 25 March 2012
Aword of advice to Roberto Mancini – don't try taking on Fergie at mind games. I had to chortle to myself when I heard Sir Alex describe bringing back Carlos Tevez as desperate.
Fergie is the past master at winding up other managers. Ask Kevin Keegan. What TV that was.
But he can do it and get away with it because he has an aura. Other managers want to be him because of what he has achieved. So when Fergie speaks you listen, and it is why it can rock you if he is critical.
Half the time he probably doesn't mean it, he is just doing everything he can to give his team a better chance of winning the title and staying top dogs. On this occasion, though, I think he meant every word – he does think it was wrong for Manchester City to allow Tevez back into the fold. Ferguson wouldn't have put up with that. He'd have told the lad to go back to Argentina and carry on playing golf.
But whatever Ferguson says, I think Mancini is better equipped than most to handle it. He is Italian, laid back, and he has won things before. Keegan hadn't won anything. He took Fergie's comments personally and let it get to him. I don't think Mancini will take the bait so easily.
I am not a manager who plays mind games. I can honestly say I have never deliberately said something to wind up a rival boss or team.
I wouldn't do it because I know that whatever you put out there comes back threefold. I'd prefer to be judged by my team's results, not by slagging off somebody else.
When two managers get involved in a spat, which is then played out in the media, it is unseemly and it doesn't do our sport any good.
If someone had a pop at me, I like to think I'd rise above it. What I'd say in-house, behind-closed-doors, is another thing altogether. But in front of the cameras, I'd try to bite my tongue and keep my counsel.
I'd advise Mancini to do just that because he needs every ounce of concentration and focus to get the better of United and win the title this season. I can't see either of those Manchester clubs dropping many points for the rest of the season so it looks as if it is going to come down to that one game between them.
If I had to put my neck on the line, I'd say United will be Premier League champions, because they' ve done it before and they know what is required.
But I didn't expect City to be as close to them in this short space of time. I thought Mancini's pot would take a lot longer to come to the boil.
The great thing is that is a rivalry that will continue to bubble for years to come because City don't look as though they are going to stop spending and strengthening any time soon.
Fergie knows that and he will strengthen in the summer too, not least because he wants to be better in Europe next season. And then there is Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool ... blimey, the Premier League could be half-decent in the next few years!
When to speak and when not to
Good on Sam Allardyce for making his feelings known on Sky. The West Ham manager didn't like their line of questioning after the draw with Middlesbrough in midweek and he made his feelings known.
And why shouldn't he speak his mind? We know as football managers it is part of our job to face the media but it is as if we are not supposed to have any emotion ourselves and answer like a robot. You can't do that and I'm glad Sam wasn't happy because it shows we care and that we are human.
I had an incident on Wednesday when my Blackpool were losing 3-2 to Leicester and one of our fans behind the dugout said something I didn't like. I reeled round and swore at him. Now I've been a manager for almost two decades and I've learned a lot in that time, but in the heat of the moment I still occasionally do something I regret.
That is why you have to admire Steve Kean. It is incredible how he has managed to keep his dignity during an incredibly stressful few months.
Each manager has their own way of dealing with things but, just like anyone in any job, there are going to be moments when you lose your rag. Unfortunately in our line of work, everyone sees it.
Sam is one of the truly great managers in English football and he knows he has to take West Ham up. Talk about pressure. If someone asked what he thought was a loaded question then he is entitled to bite back.
All he wants, like every football boss, is to be judged at the end of the season, not now.
I want my genius to stay
Our 3-3 draw with Leicester at Blackpool in midweek was one of the most exciting I have ever been involved in. Two teams going for victory and some terrific football.
It was an exceptional night, though I might not be so enthusiastic had my wonderful 38-year-old maestro Kevin Phillips not got on the end of a 90th-minute cross to salvage a point.
What a player that man is – and this week he has announced he isn't retiring at the end of the season, as he'd been threatening to. He's staying on for another year.
He has not decided which team he is going to play for yet but I'm praying to God that he stays with us. The man is a genius.
It takes a brush with disaster to prove people really are good
I've heard it said by some that the outpouring of sympathy and support for Fabrice Muamba is over the top. I disagree – I think it has shown that there is still a bit of compassion in our society.
The fact that so many people want to wish him well is terrific. Some are more public than others in the way they do it, like Dirk Kuyt, but at least people are stopping and caring about someone else other than themselves.
It particularly pleases me because football has been tarnished in recent months, to an extent I've never known before.
The Luis Suarez and John Terry controversies were horrible and suddenly racism, something we thought we'd got rid of, became a huge issue.
Then we had the bloke who is supposed to run our game, Mr Sepp Blatter, saying players should just shake hands and get on with it no matter what happens.
Well excuse me, Sepp, but I don't think Christopher Samba would be happy to shake the hand of that fella who chucked a banana on the pitch in Russia.
What has happened since Muamba collapsed is that the game has come together. It doesn't matter what colour skin Muamba has, or what club he played for, every football supporter, every parent and every decent human being felt for him.
It is about caring for another person. We do it at Christmas. Whether we are religious or not, we think of others and go out of our way to buy them something even if we can't really afford it.
We all hope Fabrice continues his recovery and how wonderful it is tosee so many looking out for him.
Oh to be like Mike and his mechanic
One of my biggest passions in life is old classic British cars.
There is a programme on daytime telly called "Wheeler Dealers", where they buy these old motors, do them up, and try to make a profit on them.
I'm ashamed to say I'm becoming a bit addicted to it. I've even found myself not answering the phone if someone rings when it's on.
There is a geezer called Mike who does the deals and buys the car and then this 6ft 7in monster mechanic called Ed, who does all the work on them. I've seen them do a Sierra Cosworth, a Triumph Stag and a Jensen Interceptor. They actually show you how to change the gaskets and stop any leaks and restore these cars to a beautiful condition.
I wish I had a bit more money so I could start collecting them myself because I love them. That old red Jag Inspector Morse drove – absolutely gorgeous.
I know technology has moved on but the way cars were fitted out years ago can't be beaten. The finish of a Daimler Jag was outstanding.
Anyhow, I'd better stop rambling and get back in front of my TV – the next episode starts in a minute.
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