Pundit Paul Merson has hit the heights of viral fame in the last few hours after a ‘rant’ against Hull’s appointment of head coach Marco Silva on Sky Sports.
YouTube: Merson’s manager rant – Soccer Saturday
The former Walsall manager was disappointed that the club did not choose former Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett in the role or choose to introduce another English manager into the Premier League’s stable.
He bemoaned the fact that overseas managers have come into the league and that it is hard for British managers to find a job.
“Why’s it always have to be a foreign manager? I’ve got nothing against foreign managers, don’t get me wrong,” Merson said.
“These ex-footballers, they’re doing four-year, five-year courses costing a fortune to do their badges, and none of them get a chance.”
This argument is despite the fact that four out of the last six coaches appointed to a top-flight team have come from this country (Mike Phelan at Hull, David Moyes at Sunderland, Sam Allardyce at Crystal Palace and Paul Clement at Swansea). Phelan and Clement entered their jobs as fresh faces to the division.
Silva, 39, made his English club debut leading Hull to a 2-0 win over Swansea in the third round of the FA Cup. He was appointed as head coach on Thursday just over 36 hours after Mike Phelan was sacked.
Looking back on Hull’s recent history, the club have actually done exactly what Merson is trying to advocate.
Two of Hull’s last three managers have been brand new to the English game, with Nick Barmby and Phelan making their managerial debuts at the club. Hull gave Phelan over five months to try and keep them in the Premier League, but changed tactics with the side bottom of the league with just 13 points and with 18 games remaining in which to change their fortunes.
The club also gave Iain Dowie his first job in two years when he was at the KC Stadium in 2010. Therefore, they are actually very accommodating to new talent coming into the game and even those out of a job.
Silva is just Hull’s first foreign manager in over 14 years after Jan Molby took charge in 2002 and it is clear that the side are probably wanting to try something different.
Merson belittled Silva’s achievements as a coach, saying that “he could win the league with Olympiakos” despite the 39-year-old having won a trophy at every club he has coached at in his short career in Portugal and Greece with Estoril, Sporting and the current Greek champions.
He was also critical about what Silva could bring to Hull with his experience level, but the Portuguese manager does have experience of leading a club to safety in his own country.
Any different approaches to the club’s style of play may bring something pioneering into the side and prevent them from remaining as a ‘yo-yo’ team continually bouncing between the bottom three of the top-flight and the Championship. When you are desperate, you have to try something innovative.