If I walked on water, my accusers would
say it is because I can’t swim.
BERTI VOGTS, German National Team coach
The first thing I will do is negotiate a
pay rise, give myself a ten-year contract—
then sack myself.
GRAHAM TURNER, upon becoming
owner-coach of the obscure Hereford United, then
of the English fourth division, in 1997
Players win games, coaches lose games, and referees ruin games, goes the saying that undoubtedly was coined by a player. And it is true—at least the part about coaches losing games. A soccer coach cannot call a time-out or make unlimited substitutions, and some of the most brilliant plays executed by the players come not from a coach’s tactics but from their creativity and improvisation. Nevertheless, the coach is a lightning rod for criticism, a nonmoving target for fans and journalists alike, and rare is the coach, manager, or technical director who stays in one place for long. Hence, one of the shortest chapters in this book.
If you were coach of Esperance Zarzis, a club in southern Tunisia, at any time during the 2002–3 season, you were also an ex-coach before long. Zarzis went through nine coaches—a rate of one a month— including former Tunisian National Team boss Mrad Mahjoubi. Also walking the plank during a midseason tailspin were the club president and several board members.
Nearly as unforgiving was Olympique Beja, which hired and fired seven coaches.