Re: Level 3 football - the final step in Rafa's plan, part 1

Posted by royhendo on August 4, 2008, 08:57:25 AM

Level 3 football - the final step in Rafa's plan

L6 Red's excellent post a couple of days back entitled "This is the Year" got my grey matter ticking over big style. If you've not had the chance to read it yet, I thoroughly recommend it.

It'll make you laugh, and you'll find yourself swept along on a wave of hopeful euphoria. So much so you'll find yourself thinking it might indeed be the year - that we might indeed take the league for the first time in a generation.

I think L6 Red's on to something. I also think Yorkykopite's on to something. To be honest, I think Yorkykopite's "This season's Defence - an Attack" is a tour de force. 

... and again it got my brain ticking over.

L6 Red's post is centred around the words of a certain George Michael, and in its honour I'd like to centre this one on the words of his namesake - Rinus. Well - a kind of namesake. A 'naymeshake'. Michael musht be Michels in Dutch, no?

Anyway, Last Christmas, instead of giving anyone my heart, I asked Santa for a copy of Rinus Michels' bible on the art of football coaching and management - "Team Building – the Road to Success". The book is hard work (it's a Dutch-to-English translation and you get the feeling Rinus won't be winning any prizes for literature any time soon (well, I guess not given he passed in 2005, God rest his soul)), but what he does is set out a nice usable framework for coaches and managers at all levels of the game. He was one of the true 'gurus' of the game, after all.

As a result, he also gives you a nice framework for analysing a manager's progress - he describes the steps that must be taken, the things that must not be allowed to happen, and the limits that prevent a manager from developing things further.

I'll start out by summarising the point of the post, because chances are it could be quite a lengthy one.

In L6 Red's thread, the post hints that Rafa's regime is now 'mature'. I know that's not really the point of his post, but it's a view shared by many commentators on LFC under Rafa, and one shared by a growing number of fans.

The view emerging is that Rafa's squad is now 'his'. He's put his stamp on it, and as such there's an argument that this is all we can expect from life under Rafa - this season will show how good we can be. While that's now expressed as optimism for our chances this coming season, you can be pretty sure the optimism will fade should things turn sour over the course of the season.

We still have a while to go before the transfer window closes, but even based on our dealings so far this summer (and especially with the addition of a certain Robbie Keane), we've improved the level of overall quality in our squad. What's more, based on Rinus Michels' words, I think the way we've improved our quality is in itself significant, and it tells us something about Rafa's view of our own progress.

Of course, this assumes that Rafa follows something like the process outlined by Michels - possibly that's a big assumption to make - but my view is Rafa's done the pragmatic and analytical thing throughout his tenure at Anfield, and throughout his career, so aside from some minor details on his preferred playing style and his views on 'creative artists' on the park, he seems to apply the general model set out in the book.

If you take the view that the squad's being 'engineered' in this textbook way, our moves in the summer tell us something about Rafa's increasing confidence in the quality of his personnel.

Overview

I'll call Rinus "RM" from now on if that's OK with you, because he gets a mention or two from here on in. Instead of listing the whole thing end-to-end, it's probably better to break it up into bite-sized chunks. With that in mind (and assuming this is 'part 1'), here's what you can expect in parts 2 and 3.

Part 2 – A summary of RM's framework
We'll start out by looking at RM's teambuilding framework, taking its main aspects in turn, and looking at how LFC measures up on each front.

Part 3 – The three development phases, and the final step in Rafa's plan
Extending RM's framework, we look at the development phases a team moves through when applying it, and think about our progress. Are we 'mature' in terms of the framework? Or does this season mark the beginning of the final phase?
I conclude that:
  • Rafa's moves in this summer's transfer window tell us something about his own views on our progress through the three development phases
  • Rafa feels we're capable of the consistent push to level 3 football
  • Good times are ahead - all we need to do is hold steady and commit to delivering on our project
 

On to part 2 then – a summary of RM's framework…


Part two: http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=225701.0

Part three: http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=225239.0

View Comments | Post Comment

More