As if Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn’t have enough to deal with, a reputable national newspaper has developed a Premier League manager ranking system that is almost designed to put the boot in.
The Telegraph’s Thom Gibbs has taken it upon himself to rank all 20 PL bosses based on his own arbitrary and matter-of-opinion criteria.
‘There is a league table and Wikipedia’s list of honours if you want a basic way of doing this,’ Gibbs explains.
‘Instead, this ranking attempts to order the Premier League managers by asking one question: How happy would you be if this manager was appointed tomorrow by your club?
‘To attempt a somewhat objective answer we have given each manager a score out of 50 defined by six important factors.’
This would still be arbitrary if Gibbs had surveyed fans, but it would seem he has just decided himself to allocate the scores for the six categories – the level of excitement generated by their football, how inspiring the manager is, current team performance, career achievements, do they give a good interview and how much would you enjoy a pint with them.
And, lo and behold, almost as if the reporter could be a Liverpool fan, Solskjaer comes last of the 20 bosses whilst Jurgen Klopp comes first.
The Telegraph is supposed to be an intelligent newspaper so it is a surprise to find this sort of journalism – which perhaps hardly deserves even to be called journalism – within its pages.
Apart from the obvious agenda, who on earth judges a manager based on whether you would like to have a pint with them?
‘It is starting to feel a little cruel to draw attention to the Manchester United manager’s shortcomings, but he comes out of this analysis poorly,’ says Gibbs. Yes, Thom, it is cruel, but you go ahead anyway.
‘No other Premier League club would be upgrading with Solskjaer and most in the Championship would also be concerned. When things are going awry for his team as they do with startling regularity, he has the unfortunate habit of looking on as if witnessing the Hindenburg Disaster.’
Feel better for having imparted that brilliant piece of reportage, Mr Gibbs?
The writing is probably on the wall for Solskjaer and most United fans, whilst loyal to the man, have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the job has ultimately proved too challenging for him.
But unnecessarily vindictive articles such as this are disappointing and disrespectful.