Kenny Jackett meets the Press
It`s 4.50 p.m. and I have only just ploughed my way through all the posts relating to KJ`s press-conference, having taken my wife out to see her relatives for lunch. However, I hadn`t digested much of the fare when I realised that it was beginning to repeat on me (that is, the comments rather than the food). Here are the key issues.
Firstly, I am warming to Kenny Jackett. He seemed level-headed, aware of the magnitude of the task he faced (on and off the field) and was quietly confident in his ability to turn round the fortunes of the club. He was also respectful of the proud history of WWFC. He is exactly the sort of manager we need in these circumstances.
Even better, he made no mention of a clean sheet, which indicates that he knows about the problem of overpaid,underperforming 'stars`, unwilling to put in a McCarthian shift for the club. Ironically, they include players whom MM brought in! I look forward to a mass clear-out, though I doubt whether JM will aid the process by tearing up contracts or offering the offenders at bargain-basement prices.
Jackett also emphasized the importance of giving young, hungry and ambitious players the opportunity to prove their worth. With his experience in bringing on Academy players a number of them should make the grade in the coming season. Moreover, those like Doherty, McAlinden, Batth, Davis, Cassidy and Forde, who have already gained first team experience, are more likely to stay if they feel that the manager selects players according to form rather than the size of the wage packet (or mouth) and seniority. If only a succession of managers had judged Griffiths according to his scoring ability. Wouldn't be great if Jackett managed to utilize the lad's prodigious talent to our benefit.
That said, it is not going to be easy for KJ to win over the doubters, who constituted over 95% of the voters in the recent manager-preference poll. Wading through the comments attached to the posts this afternoon, I noted that the fans are still divided over his appointment, with a number refusing to accept the decision. Even so, the majority seem willing to give him a chance and I expect him to enjoy a honeymoon period, albeit a short one, if recent experience is any guide.
Jackett`s task isn`t made any easier by the terms of his contact, which secures his position for only twelve months at a time. It reduces to nonsense Moxey`s flip comment, made at the press-meeting, that KJ was our 'special one` and that, hopefully, he would be our manager for years to come. What a weight to hang around KJ`s neck! Ironically, we might suffer. If he does succeed and gets us promoted, what is there to stop him from accepting a more lucrative/better status job elsewhere? He will be in demand, especially from chairmen of teams relegated from the PL or the Championship.
Unsurprisingly, most of the venom recorded in the posts is aimed at Jez Moxey, whose control of the purse-strings is deemed to be the reason why we have done so poorly over the course of the past three years (though he has done well out of it). In this respect, JK has not emerged as the strongest candidate out of a reputed slate of about 70 applicants but as the cheapest option the board could get away with. It`s another cross that the manager will have to bear. Bloggers also criticized our chairman for his absence from the press conference 'for business reasons`. How about that for an indication of his interest in the club in general and in Kenny Jackett in particular?
KJ is under no illusions about the fickleness of fans and realises that the best (the only?) way to convince the doubters is to obtain success on the field. For many of us this equates with instant promotion. With our superior resources and fan-base it ought to be manageable but that is to reckon without the poisonous atmosphere that has pervaded Molineux for the last couple of seasons. In addition, we will be engaged in frantic 'cup ties` every week, with the Crawleys and Stevenages of the footballing world playing above themselves to secure such an illustrious scalp.
In such a pressurized environment it will be a bonus to have a cool head at the helm. This is what KJ will give us. Having looked at numerous assessments of our new manager, I have been impressed with what I have read. He possesses good man-management skills, a prerequisite at WWFC at the moment, and is an excellent coach. He will bring in a more fluid style of play, while tightening us up at the back. His attention to detail will not only enable him bring out the best in our players but also ensure that we are better prepared for each game, skills patently lacking under recent managers.
I welcome Kenny Jackett`s appointment and even if, like me, others did not put him top of their list, we all have to give him our full support ... and the time to bring in the necessary changes. I am really looking forward to the new season and am confident that under KJ we will do well.