Dickov deserves time to prove worth

Monday 20th May 2013 18:19

Paul Dickov: Plenty of doom and gloom over his appointment

Paul Dickov: Plenty of doom and gloom over his appointment

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Doncaster FanZoner Daniel Nice says Paul Dickov deserves time to prove himself at Rovers after supporters reacted angrily to his appointment.

Such is the beauty of football nowadays, you can get criticised as a manager at your next club before you are even appointed.

Paul Dickov was getting flak merely by being named the favourite for the Doncaster Rovers job, so it was no surprise to see plenty of doom and gloom in circulation when the former Manchester City striker was officially confirmed in the hot-seat.

The problem that managers face nowadays is that they are judged purely on results and league tables. Everything is seen in black and white. The stats say that Dickov had only 43 wins in 141 games at Oldham Athletic, and that the team went perilously close to relegation from League One.

The general consensus therefore seems to be as follows: Dickov is clearly a poor manager and should never have another opportunity. Doncaster should have appointed someone with experience at Championship level - or even a manager who has been in the top flight.

Let's face it, it would have been great to have Owen Coyle or Kenny Jackett but that is ideal world stuff. You only have to look at the overall situation to see it wasn't going to happen.

Firstly, we are not a big club. Those who have followed us recently may see success at Rovers as the norm but I assure them that isn't the case.

When you have stood at Northampton's old ground with a handful of others to see a terrible bottom division goalless draw on a terrace with blocked toilets, and when you have seen a home defeat to Forest Green as part of a horrible struggle to get out of the Conference, then you know these are heady days.

The next part of the equation was that we needed somebody to slot into place. Donny already has Brian Flynn and Rob Jones, the duo who steered the club to promotion as Champions, in the ranks. A new manager was always going to have to fit into the existing state of affairs. Managers like Coyle and Jackett were never going to stand for that.

Then you can assess our budget. I'm sure it will be among the lowest in the Championship. We are going to have to compete with QPR, Reading and Wigan with their parachute payments and multi-million pound wage bills and clubs like Leicester City, who are extremely well-resourced. An experienced manager knows this isn't the ideal recipe for success.

So we were always going to get a younger manager; somebody who puts hunger before wisdom, passion before logic, and a work ethic before aesthetics. If Dickov's management style is anything like he was as a player, then he will have ticked those three boxes.

It is all too easy to write off somebody on the basis of one management job. Dickov took on a role at Boundary Park that was always going to have financial constraints. He knew that if it was a failure, then he may not get another chance. Dickov was prepared to take that risk rather than take a comfortable job in the media or on the coaching staff somewhere.

And football is so daft that had he won the league at Oldham, he'd probably be being touted for the Manchester City job now! There is simply no inbetween in this weird and wonderful game and it is a Catch 22 situation as a manager. Unless you win most of the time, of course.

I prefer to judge people based on what I've seen rather than what the record books show. If you look at managerial appointments, the successful ones are by those chairmen who pick a good fit for their club. Look at Ian Holloway, who had a bad time at Leicester but has brought success to every other club he has been at. Look at Billy Davies, who just seems to suit Nottingham Forest.

John Ryan has a good track record of appointments and Oldham looked a cracking side during their famous FA Cup run. The Latics were one of the better teams Rovers faced last season, beating us in the cup and undeservedly losing both league games only via a late goal.

The simplistic argument was that Dickov's side couldn't replicate their cup heroics and that was his fault. But was it? Surely those players who performed so admirably against the higher-placed sides were not delivering on a regular basis. If they were playing anywhere near their best week in, week out, you would surely not be beating Liverpool yet losing at home to Stevenage and Bury.

Anybody who digs beneath the surface saw a manager desperate to do well, a chairman desperate for the desperate manager, yet the league situation was simply desperate. Sometimes it happens in football. As a manager, you can work as hard as physically possible and you can want to win as much as you like, but you simply can't affect performances once the players cross the white line.

Dickov strikes me as somebody who makes the most of what he has. As a striker, being pint-sized does not really give you the best chance of doing well. Yet he forged a successful career, was loved by fans wherever he went. Being affectionately known as the 'wasp' and 'pest' is testament to that.

Those who question his tactics need only look at those FA Cup wins to see that he knows what he is doing. With more money and a group of players who demonstrated under Dean Saunders and Flynn that they are capable of carrying out gameplans to the letter on a weekly basis, then he has better tools for this job. Dean Furman took stick from some Oldham fans when he left yet looked a good player for us.

I was not dancing round the room when I learnt of his appointment but I never judge a book by its cover. Some of the reactions have been ridiculous. One example was backing the reappointment of Saunders, who is a proven Championship failure with two clubs, ahead of somebody who has never had a crack at the level.

Common sense has to prevail. I knew whoever took on the Donny job - even had it been Coyle or Jackett - would have their work cut out because keeping us in the Championship will be a huge task.

When you see Wolves being relegated despite keeping the majority of their Premier League squad in place, and an established Peterborough side going down with 54 points, then you know it's going to be a long season. Why is it going to be any easier for us?

Having a manager prepared to work with Flynn and Jones was going to be the key factor in this appointment. Dickov was quick to point out in the press conference that he will be picking their brains and looking to build on what has gone before rather than beginning from scratch.

That seems a sensible starting point to me. The experts may say that Dickov and Donny are doomed before a ball has been kicked but I get the feeling that will only fuel the fire of two parties who have spent years defying the odds.

By Daniel Nice, FanZone's Doncaster Rovers blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @daniel_nice7 - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!



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