FFootball management is tough – unless, of course, you are a football writer. But other than that – if you’re a football manager, for example – it’s one of the toughest jobs, which is why almost everyone who tries it fails somewhere along the line.
This is the case even if they end up Manchester United, whose place in the game since World War II is due to the achievements of only two men: Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson. And what sets them apart, along with all the others who had moderate success in the role – Tommy Docherty, Ron Atkinson, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, versus Frank O’Farrell, Dave Sexton, David Moyes and Ole Gunnar Solskjær – charisma.
It is not difficult to understand why. In his early days at Old Trafford, even Ferguson could be heard muttering “the big club, this”, and his rapid growth since then means that, almost a decade after Ferguson’s years, charisma is an essential quality for anyone hoping to thrive.
if Eric Ten Hag Has any, it is not immediately clear. But as the saying goes: “One man’s charisma is another man’s absolutely unbearable nausea,” an adjective often confused with loud, aggressive self-aggrandizement and exemplifies the toxic masculinity that has made the world such an unkempt place.
Real charisma is different, dependent neither on arrogance nor on gossip. Busby spoke only when necessary, while Ferguson – though inspiring loyalty – was similar, and his influence was underpinned by the delicacy of his patronage.
Tin Hag understands this too, recently explained Marcus Rashford’s improvement comes thanks to a happy working environment. But close relationships aren’t built overnight, so in the meantime he’ll need football to give him his appeal.
This seems reasonable. Who among us hasn’t used our obsession with the game as a personal agent; Found the essential truth in our club’s identity, and then attribute it to ourselves? Except for Ten Hag he still had a problem because although his Ajax team played with courage and flair, translating that into ‘this league’ is difficult.
Fortunately, he either possesses stubborn self-confidence or is successfully influencing it. The 52-year-old wears neither pumps nor socks with his ultra-shorts, but has told friends that if he is allowed within the first two years, United will be sorted. The Dutchman firmly believes in his system that he would have preferred Scott McTominay over Casemiro because the latter, having missed the pre-season, needs time to understand his role in it.
However, instilling a similar spirit in his players is not an easy task, as he is an expert on the team in spreading collective cowardice to fire coaches. For a while now, United have been good enough to beat the best and have also gone on long runs unbeaten. And their most notable flaws are not technical but mental: lack of accuracy, lack of focus, and a lower level than the Dead Sea. They are weak.
Ten Hag concluded this almost immediately. Then he said, “It was a good start.” United lost to Brighton at the opening of their season. “Then after we went down a level, we went down with faith… it’s not necessary. They are good players, self-confidence is from you.”
A worse performance at Brentford followed, who won 4-0But things improved significantly after that Surprising victory over Liverpool In the next United match, burning tin hag Explain the difference in distinctive style: without rhetorical flourishes but with sincerity, clarity and passion. “We can talk about a tactic but it’s all about the situation,” he said. “Now you see we bring the situation on the pitch and there was communication, there was a fighting spirit and there was a team, and you can see what they can achieve because they can play good football.”
This summer has always been pivotal for United. The Glazer family have now owned the club – they bought it without a penny of their own money and with incurred debts carried on their books – for 17 years, and have plundered nearly £1.6 billion to pay their interest and dividends – about £23 million in the past 12 months alone.
Initially – and although this prevented United from winning more than they did – Ferguson’s genius kept titles coming. But since his retirement, a series of management appointments have failed, each undermining the owners’ multidimensional greed. Even if Moyes and Solskjaer weren’t up to the job and Van Gaal and Mourinho pulled off their best, Ten Hag is on the cutting edge and in style. Thus, if they also let him down, the club becomes shunned by any manager with options.
As such, the arrival of just three new players before the season started was a huge problem, and even after the humiliation of Brentford United were chasing Adrian Rabiot and Marko Arnautovic – cheap concessions well below par. So replacing them with Casemiro and Anthony gave the squad a boost when they needed one – although the random way things illustrate the dangerous incompetence that United are now famous for.
What prompted the change of plan is not clear. Perhaps it was the poor start and the Glazer family’s fear of falling profits. Or perhaps Tin Hag advised them that if he resigned citing their desire to set up a trust rather than a football club, that trust would immediately become less generous. But either way – and although Ten Hag now has a question to answer about Arnautovic’s past, it aligns with the question about Support for Marc Overmars The sheer atrocity of the Brentford Show was a blessing. He no longer needs to earn political capital to make big changes, he can simply make big changes, dropping Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Cristiano Ronaldo to pick a team in something that comes close to his image.
At this point, it is useful to consider the players who have been recruited. Normally, a manager who is fascinated by those he already knows like Harry Redknapp would seem to have signed Nico Krangar for the 67th time, but the conditions here are more forgiving. At Ajax it was not Tin Hag’s duty to discover talent, so it stands to reason that those he will vouch for are those he knows, and given United’s embarrassing state of Ajax’s health, these players might be the best players available to him. . Like all potential deals, they don’t know if they can trust the club, but unlike other potential signings, they know they can trust him.
Or, in other words, Tin Hag’s skills as a coach and as a man – what we might call his charisma – attracted players who might otherwise have been out of their reach. No doubt the unique charisma of the late Queen’s printed face also helped, but Christian Eriksen had options, Terrell Malacia was on the verge of joining Lyon, Lisandro Martinez refused to endorse Arsenal despite the London factor, and Anthony – who, understandably, United was running Freely because he can be tough – he knows Tin Hag is “perfect” for him, so he strikes out to force him to move.
Given that these players owe Tin Hag, either to make them better, to secure their financial future, or to both, the least they can expect is their unwavering commitment – but there’s more to it. Casemiro’s biography alone demonstrates the strength of character, and when he left Real Madrid, Luka Modric called him a “real captain” and “the best bodyguard in the world”, while Toni Kroos wrote: “With you even the Turkish bath was a gym … and you don’t They allow people to lie down only when it is time for sitting exercises.”
Likewise, the high devotion with which Eriksen fought off his near-death experience, combined with his Mensa level football IQ, give him a prestige capable of raising those around him, while Malacia and Martínez’s confidence, aggressiveness and enthusiasm really made a huge difference. Because Tin Hag has chosen strong and bright personalities, he now has strong, bright voices in the locker room to echo his messages and underscore his methods, alleviating any lack of personal charisma with players whose competitive charisma provides him with just that.
Which means that the best kind of charisma is the charisma that inspires others to find their own charisma, and in this aspect, Ten Hag is set. But as Atkinson, Van Gaal and Mourinho emphasize, in the end, only one type of charisma matters: the unparalleled charisma of continued success.