We all joke on Sportzfan Radio about resident panelist Sportzfan Stan being quick to suggest sports coaches, administrators, teams & players being sacked. Most recently he called for the sacking of Melbourne Football Club coach Dean Bailey (podcast #200.1). This despite the Demons being in the top eight and with the best start to a season for many seasons. By the way the Demons have since beaten Adelaide by more than 90 points!
My feeling is that we are too quick to pull the trigger in today’s sporting world. Even having excellent records in the recent past is not enough to save a coach or player. One only needs to look at the way the Melbourne Tigers behaved after their season didn’t turn out the way they thought it should. Two NBL Championships and four trips to the playoffs in as many seasons couldn’t save long time servant and coach of the club, Al Westover. On our show, Daniel Eade urged restraint and argued a case for Westover’s retention. History tells us that Al was sacked mid season. If one compares Westover’s coaching record to that of Lindsay Gaze, Westover had more success in a much shorter time but even that comparison couldn’t save him.
It seems that today’s ‘must have now’ phenomenon pervades all areas of sport. Being in the USA now and with the NBA finals series in full flight, I am amazed at the reaction of the media to the LA Lakers whitewash at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. Let’s remember that the Lakers were the two time defending champion and have been one of the most successful franchises of all time with 11 championships (5 since 2000 and runners-up twice). Yet today, we are greeted with the media saying the Lakers are a ‘train wreck’…’the locker room needs massive repair’…’fractured franchise’. There have been calls to trade anyone but Kobe…meaning one of last season’s best players, Pau Gasol is on the block because the Lakers failed to win for a third time in a row. Reality check – the NBA is one of the most competitive competitions in all of sport and the Lakers have been to the big dance in each of the last three seasons. Is there really a need for ‘massive’ change?
Memo to the sports media of the world….have some patience. I find support for this proposition in the example provided by my fellow Sportzfan Radio panelist, Mark Fiorenti when he spoke recently of Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United fame. Early on in his tenure and with not much success, the media and fans were calling for his sacking (a la Sportzfan Stan). The club, to their credit, and eternal satisfaction, stayed the executioner’s hand and one only needs to look at the stellar record since, that has put United at the forefront of soccer in not only Europe, but the world. They are in line this season for the Premier League/Champions League double.
One lucky person is the former coach of the Lakers, Phil Jackson. His retirement after the Lakers last loss at least means we won’t have calls for him to be sacked by all and sundry including Sportzfan Stan. Goodness knows his 11 NBA championships may not have saved him in this ‘need it now’ world.
Restraint is what I will be preaching on Sportzfan Radio from now on!