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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Aye, Captain

So I'm still wondering about the appointment of a person with no experience into a top management position. I still can't figure out why. I'm talking about the appointment of Martin Johnson as the team manager for the England Rugby Team. Not only will he be team manager, but he will hire a new head coach who he will have control over regarding strategy, tactics, and player selection. Apparently, the thinking is that since Mr. Johnson was a great player and a well-respected team captain, he is the holy grail that England needs to become the bestest and most perfect rugby team in the known universe. Because all the pundits (at least those I read on the BBC's rugby site) point to his excellence as a team captain, I needed to know just what a team captain does that is so important that it trumps any other training or experience in coaching and management.

Although I played rugby for many years, in college and at club level, I do not know the role of the captain in professional and international levels. In my playing experience, the captain was simply the one who was allowed to speak to the ref during a game. So, needing to know more, I turned to the best source I could think of: Total Flanker. Read his response to my query in this post.

I'm still confused as to what the captain actually does, but it seems it's centered around being an inspiration to the rest of the team. Hmm... I remember during last fall's World Cup when a certain player, who was not the captain, missed the first couple of games due to injury, and when he returned to the starting line up was heralded as the inspiration for the team's turnaround to winning. I wonder if two years after this inspiring person's retirement he'll be touted as the savior of English rugby? Regardless of training or experience?

This is akin to a working foreman or supervisor, who is a company's de facto leader through his charisma and inspirational qualities, being brought back to the company as the CEO two years after retiring and sitting in his Barcalounger (yes, that's the correct spelling) eating Twinkies and ranting about the company to his buddies at the local tavern (that's pub for you non-Yanks). So what if he has no experience as a CEO, he was a great supervisor.

I'm still wondering how long the Martin Johnson love-fest will last. Probably until the day he actually starts the job.


Anonymous said...

Hey Steve, nice post! Johnson's appointment is something of a shambles and certainly from the outside it is difficult to see how he got the job. There are a few ideas that spring to mind however..

Both Andy Robinson and Brian Ashton struggled with managing and relating to their players. Perhaps the RFU this will not be an issue for Martin given his previous coming as captain.

I would imagine Johnson is a political animal, and the RFU, like any good old committee embroiled organisation, loves politics. The one outstanding proven candidate, Shaun Edwards, is anything but.

The job was always going to an Englishman, regardless of what Jake White tried to convince the papers.

When you consider the frosty relationship between Premier League Rugby and the RFU, one comes to the conclusion that it may have been difficult to prise away any possible homegrown candidates.

That leaves us with Ashton, who was effectively ousted by the player power during the World Cup.

But still, Martin Johnson?!

There is a frosty relationship

Steve said...

Thanks for the comment (and thanks for reading). I can understand why they want Martin Johnson involved, I just don't understand throwing him into this position right off the bat.