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Being nice [but dim] could soon start to wear thin


Dorset

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Let me start by saying that this is by way of a contra-view to Pauly’s rant, which would have been more believable had he spelt Spaletti’s name properly, but that is by the by….

So far it has been pretty much plain sailing for Felipe and his crew in the murky home waters of the Premiership and it is probably bordering on the mutinous to even suggest that it might prove to be a lot choppier on the high seas of the Champions League, but nevertheless I’ll risk being keelhauled and offer this topic for discussion at an early stage in our voyage of discovery on the good ship Scolari.

Is the new regime at Chelsea in danger of falling foul of friendliness?

Too much use of the f-words, I know, yet even though none are expletives they are delivered with just as much passion as a Mourinho rant, or with just as much velocity as a Ferguson teacup, and by using these examples you can see where I’m coming from and why I believe the question will need answering sooner rather than later. Let’s look at some facts…

Scolari’s charm offensive, be it with the Media, opposing team management or officialdom, is all embracing and is a breath of fresh air in comparison with the headycase mixture of banality and bile we have become accustomed to. These three contrasting powerbases are treated by him with the sort of courtesy that has been sadly lacking in our game for decades and [to date] is unparalleled when you compare the Felipe approach to that of any of his rivals.

Wenger courts the first, tolerates the second and, as seen recently, berates the most important area of the third for not protecting his players. Ferguson ignores parts of the first, cultivates most of the [second rate] second whilst winding up those that threaten, and treats the third with complete and utter disdain. Benitez is Mr Banality personified to the first, generally standoffish when dealing with the second and, if things don’t go his way, downright nasty to the sharp end of the third, the long suffering referee.

To my mind, theses assessments are irrefutable, just as the old adage ’nice guys win nothing’ is debatable, but you have to ask what good it does to point out such obvious failings when the football family as a whole accepts them as the norm and Felipe’s approach as the exception. After all, the evidence in the opening games of both Premiership and Champions League suggest that our Brazilian coach is already fighting a losing battle…

Wenger’s team wobble and, true to form, he stops them falling down altogether, or at least before the match against United, by weebling on about his players needing protection. As per usual, this is portrayed as a crusade against violence and nothing will stop Arsene fighting for the cause, not even a charge of bringing the game into disrepute. Ferguson looks on from what can only be described as high immoral ground stretching back over a decade of disrepute that never seems to get in the way of winning titles - so who cares? Benitez doesn’t, as proven by many a pitch side spat and precious little good grace when points are dropped.

Faced with this blanket coverage of unapologetic crappy attitude, what chance does the Scolari approach have of succeeding? Naff all is my initial belief and this is based on a couple of little incidents of niceness that have backfired, not because of their inherent niceness, but because they never, ever seem to work in favour of Mister Nice Guy. The first occurred before our crunch game against Liverpool when animosity fostered during the Jose years melted away to be replaced by coaches who greeted each other like long lost friends. Mutual respect is one thing, but, when openly displayed just before kick off in a match such as this, it was as if the heat was taken out of our play, yet somehow (funny that) it remained with the opposition.

For those who scoff at this observation let me say that we have just been down the same road with ‘best friend’ Spaletti and there was a similar nil point outcome. Somewhere we lost something in friendly transition in both instances and all I know for sure is that it would never have happened under Mourinho. Of course, the football, along with the congeniality, is different now and we are reaping the benefit of a marvellous goals difference whilst making many new friends along the way with our easy-on-the-eye game.

Other benefits may not be quite so easy to identify [or even be there at all] and the Media will still report that Scolari’s foreign players dive for penalties, whereas Steven Gerrard wins them. Other managers will still vicariously flout the laws through encouraging their own players whilst slagging off the opposition for doing exactly the same thing and officials will take dogs abuse from them, but still allow ’Fergie time’ or some similar sort of pressure to creep into their decision making. Sadly, it is all part and parcel of a game that is rife with undue influence and, as far as satisfying ambitions go, trying to disassociate yourself from this self serving environment could turn out to be more of a hindrance than a help. Then again, maybe I am being just too sceptical and for sure I hope that I am because Felipe strikes me as being the sort of guy who makes friends easily, so we can but pray that his approach influences them as well. It would be nice.

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Nobody likes winners, it's the reason opposition fans have hated Fergie for years, and, although a likeable rouge, the reason Jose got under so many peoples skin.

Clauido, Jol, Keegan, some even said in another they quite like Roy keane now........it's because they're not a threat.

Frank Bruno, Eddie the Eagle, Tim Henman - it's the British menatlity, everyone likes a loser who tried, once you become a winner, it aint the same.

if I was Chelsea manager I wouldn't be too interested in making friends at other clubs, just keep the Chelsea faithfull happy!

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