Solbakken faces uphill struggle to restore Wolves' fortunes
12:04 GMT, 18 May 2012
As far as the media is concerned, the appointment of Stale Solbakken will be very good news.
Within 30 minutes of his arrival at Wolverhampton Wanderers, he claimed that a combination of 'Jesus and Jose Mourinho' would not have been successful in his last job at Cologne.
He then said, as a combustible character himself, that he was looking forward to sharing a touchline with the likes of Neil Warnock next season.
New arrival: Stale Solbakken has taken over the reins at Wolves
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But then he admitted he wouldn't take on Sam Allardyce, should West Ham not make it tomorrow, because 'he is way too big.'
He finished off by challenging yours truly to ten races to prove his fitness following the heart condition that caused his premature retirement and almost cost him his life. No problem. (But you won't win a typing test against me, Stale!)
But while his media skills should be a consideration, particularly at a club like Wolves, I wonder if he has stopped to consider the size of the job in hand.
Taking over a relegated club is always a tough ask.
There are players who will be coveted by others. There are players who think they should be coveted by others.
Inevitably, football matches have been lost. I think it was Gordon Strachan who pointed out that once a player has been a part of a team that has been relegated that you can smell it on them.
Solbakken doesn't turn up for work until July 1. Presumably because of contractual issues with his last club.
But it's a big ask for him to come in, assess what he has, try and guess the strength of the Championship, make a couple of signings and put together a winning team for the slog of that particular division.
Up against it: Solbakken with Wolves chairman Steve Morgan
And he's got to weigh all this up within six weeks of the next campaign kicking-off.
Having said that, it was important for the club for a fresh pair of eyes to look at the situation.
Terry Connor stepped in at a difficult time, with no forethought to the downside, should it happen and did his best in ridiculously trying circumstances.
But he remains too closely associated to the Mick McCarthy regime to make objective judgements.
Steve Morgan will give Solbakken time. 'It could be considered a left-field appointment,' he said, 'but we wanted to think outside the box.
'If you look at anyone else out there, then of course they have much more experience in English football but they have nothing like his success rate.
Bad experience: Solbakken at Cologne
'And all appointments are a gamble. But there's no-one out there with a track record that comes anywhere near his.'
Well, winning the Superliga with Copenhagen five times on the spin is something, but haven't Copenhagen won eight of the last 12 competitions anyway
And relieving Lukas Podolski of the captaincy at Cologne not only alienated the press and public, it looks like the dressing-room disintegrated too. How else do you explain a fall from mid-table to relegation (Morgan's justification was that Cologne was an unstable football club and 25 managers in 26 years pointed to that.)
Of course, at the moment, Solbakken's arrival can be greeted as a bold and inventive appointment. But he's got a hellava lot to get to grips with. And quickly.
As ever, participation in football matches will decided how his arrival is viewed by the end of the coming year.
Morgan's first appointment then is from left-field. Solbakken may need to hit the ground running. Or else Wolves could be left behind.
An eye for detail
One of the hallmarks of Roy Hodgson's spell at West Brom was his organisational skills.
They may be hackneyed in the eyes of some, but clearly they have served him well over the years.
It wasn't unknown for the old boy to stop his 11-a-side practice matches and move players one foot in either direction, to improve their positional sense. As a result, West Brom became a far more rigid team.
But as evidence to Hodgson's tactics, you only have to look at the reigns of Tony Mowbray and Roberto Di Matteo.
The Baggies lost so many goals, particularly at home, on the counter-attack. That rarely happened with Hodgson's side.
Eyes on the prize: Roy Hodgson's organisational skills are impressive
I respected him for that reason. He was an old-fashioned manager who showed that you could make a difference through teaching.
I firmly believe players want to learn. Some will be open to it. Others won't.
It was therefore heartening to pick up a little snippet from St Andrew's this week. Chris Hughton's coach, Paul Trollope, spotted that Chris Burke wasn't at all bad on his left foot.
The former Rangers' trainee did not, however, take aim too many times after cutting in. Trollope encouraged Burke and the pair have practised shooting after coming back onto his left-foot relentlessly throughout the season.
The results are there for all to see. I have not checked this, but my contact reckons that Burke found the net six times in such a fashion. It could have made the difference between qualifying for the play-offs and not.
And while it obviously reflects well on Trollope and Burke it just goes to show that the benefits of good coaching can have tangible reward on the training pitch.
No way back for Eck
Finally, a word about Alex McLeish.
This job was a big opportunity. He was beset by a couple of untimely injuries, most notably to Jermaine Jenas and Darren Bent.
But to those who say he never stood a chance Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Aston Villa's supporters gave Alex McLeish a chance. The only way he was going to win them over though was by producing a brand of attacking football. Not by deploying tactics similar to those he used at St Andrew's.
Gone: Alex McLeish faces an uncertain future after being sacked by Aston Villa
Statistically, the two seasons were almost identical and the fact that Villa drew 17 matches showed they were competitive. Yet they would have earned more points winning just six of them.
He never grasped that fact. In doing so, he bought himself no time and could not escape the downwards spiral.
The fact is, if Villa were to finish 16th, they might as well have done so with a few spills and thrills.
That way, McLeish might have bought himself some time and not given the fans a stick to beat him with.
As it is, his reputation now has been damaged. Perhaps beyond repair.