Monday, June 8, 2009

John Barnes: From Jamaica to Merseyside

Soccernet reported another interesting bit of news. It would seem that Liverpool legend John Barnes is set to be named manager of Tranmere Rovers in the next few days.

This is what was reported:
"Former Liverpool and England player John Barnes is set to return to club management with League One side Tranmere Rovers. The 45-year-old, who has been in charge of the Jamaica national team since September last year, has been eager to return to the domestic game after an ill-fated and infamous spell in charge of Celtic in 1999-2000 which ended after a humiliating Scottish Cup defeat to minnows Inverness Caledonian Thistle. He applied for the Port Vale job last month but that position went to Micky Adams. Now it appears he will be reunited with former Liverpool team-mate Jason McAteer at Prenton Park. McAteer is an ex-Tranmere player and youth coach..."
Full ESPN report is available here: Barnes set to be appointed new boss of Tranmere

Now I am not really sure about this. The man is a legend but his club management has been terrible. The1999/2000 appointment at Celtic was a much-hyped affair which backfired on Barnes. Perhaps he brought too many ideas too soon. While at Celtic, Barnes' record stands at 29 games played, 19 games won, eight (8) drawn and lost two (2). At the time of sacking, he had a win percentage of 65.5%. Not bad, but he made some strange decision then, notably playing with a 4-2-2-2 formation. There were also a slew of bad signings, an old Ian Wright and an absent Rafael Scheidt comes to mind. Finally, the Scottish Cup defeat at the hands of Inverness broke the camel's back. Barnes was promptly sacked.

It would take him eight years to step back into management as he took over in September 2008 as the coach of Jamaica. Jamaicans were looking for a hero and Barnes provided it - guiding the team to a Carribean Cup victory that same year. Thus he has proven himself to be a good manager (learning from mistakes at the cauldron that is Parkhead). One point to note, coaching Jamaica has been a success but that was after they had failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup when the pressure was off. Barnes performance as coach of Jamaica? Six(6) wins, four(4) draws and no defeats thus far. Very impressive stats. The timing of this news is unfortunate as the Jamaican squad had been preparing for the Gold Cup tournament coming up next month.

So I am undecided on this. On one hand, as a Kop legend, I would like to see him succeed at Tranmere. On the other, I am not sure if he can. For sure, he will raise the profile of Tranmere Rovers. Hopefully Barnes will be the man who will guide Tranmere back to the Championship and beyond. The Rovers fans have missed the heady days of Pat Nevin and John Aldridge and would love to see a revolution take place.

I will always remember Barnes as a Kop hero and an amazing football player. Supremely talented players do not make great managers - they just don't. The glare of the football media may not be on Digger Barnes but the eyes of Prenton Park will sure be watching this manager's every move.

2 comments:

EPL addict said...

John Barnes is a fine player. Agree. I think there are a few exceptional players who do fine at soccer management. I think Mancini is pretty good. Deschamp from France is a good manager too.

By the way, can we exchange links? I am from soccerupdated.blogspot.com
you can contact me soccerupdated@gmail.com

Thanks!

TheFlatBackFour said...

Great! Yeah Deschamp and Mancini are a few of those who had made the transition but I dunno, I think more ex-players had fallen by the wayside than succeed.

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