This has been a difficult week for football fans on Merseyside. Liverpool suffered a rare – and heavy – defeat at the hands of top six rivals, and Everton shipped five goals at home to Arsenal. The only Toffees supporters still at Goodison Park come the final whistle we’re there to boo Ronald Koeman!
So after two damaging results, why was it Koeman who suffered the managerial axe while Klopp escaped, with Liverpool 9th and way off the title pace.
Well the answer – as I’ve mentioned before in this blog – is around communication. Klopp has a great rapport with fans and players alike – Koeman seemed to have none.
Much of the image of these two managers comes down to basic communication skills. Koeman never smiled, no humour to defuse difficult questions, no brutal honesty, he was not humble but arrogant. He also looked like he disliked his job, it was an ordeal. Many felt his tweets and social media stream suggested this was just a stepping stone to the. Barcelona job. But when the fans don’t feel their leader has a connection with their club, it is so much easier to dump him in hard times.
True there are some managers who have that passion but not the technical and tactical ability to go with it. But how many bosses have we seen go because there was no rapport, no connection. People like Bob Bradley, Frank deBoer, Claude Puel …uh oh, the ex Southampton boss has just been appointed by Leicester to the dismay of the fans!
Jurgen Klopp looks like he relishes his task even in the face of calamity. He like Antonio Conte will come under pressure because expectations are so high. But what people like they do is buy themselves time with their style of communication.
When Jose Mourinho changed at Chelsea he ceased to be the media darling who had charmed us and the supporters. He became a misery guts and fans hate that in their leaders. We all do! Everton’s Bill Kenwright the theatre impresario knows how we empathise with characters on stage and screen. The Everton board should be mindful of that before they make their next appointment. And looking across Stanley Park may not be a bad place to get some clues.