Opinion: Why Pep has made exactly the right decision yet again…..
There seems to be an element of surprise in some quarters that Josep Guardiola i Sala has taken up the managerial position at FC Bayern Munchen.
It’s a decision that I think makes perfect sense. The only surprise I see is the length of Pep’s contract – 3 years instead of the rolling 1 year contract he adopted initially whilst managing Barca B and then the first team at FC Barcelona.
I cannot imagine his German paymasters being any less demanding than their Catalan counterparts so I would suggest therefore, that the contract length is merely an indicator of the time period Guardiola himself anticipates his project will take to complete.
As an Englishman and fervent cule myself, the notion that Pep could have ended up at Chelsea or Manchester City was an unpalatable one.
City simply don’t have the history. Like the Abramovich project, in my opinion there is a certain vulgarity associated with the team from the Etihad. Just because you can buy your way to success, it doesn’t necessarily make it right.
In Chelsea’s case there aren’t enough of the right type of players at Stamford Bridge to fit the Guardiola style. Furthermore, the senior players would appear to wield far too much influence over their Russian benefactor who, let’s be honest here, has a ‘machine gun’ style of ownership at the best of times.
Neither of those clubs, certainly at this point in time, have placed enough emphasis on their youth policy to seduce Guardiola. In fact I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the amount of Academy products to come through the ranks at either club.
For Pep, home grown players are king. Those who feel the club, who genuinely love the club and who will go the extra mile for the club. In Bayern, Pep has joined a club who will share in his vision, his passion for youth, and his unflinching desire to play the game the right way with the right players.
Expect a Bayern side rich in valued youngsters supplemented by a handful of big names. Expect a few surprises when under performing stars (and their egos) are quickly dispensed with by the no nonsense Catalan.
There is something romantic about this appointment and a synergy of sorts with FC Barcelona. Bayern are also owned by the fans and they represent a region (Bavaria). They are, by some distance, the most popular sports club in Germany, with approx 170,000 members and like Barca have a number of other sections (basketball, handball and table tennis to name just three).
Ex Bayern players Beckenbauer, Rummenigge and Hoeness have all held or hold high ranking positions at the club. Their trajectory will no doubt be mirrored by Guardiola when he eventually returns to Catalonia.
Of all of the moves that were rumoured, by going to Bayern Pep has stayed true to his values and has shown quite clearly that money can’t buy you everything. Cules everywhere will wish him well unless he decides to open the Bayern wallet in the direction of Camp Nou.
In 3 years time Sir Alex Ferguson will be ready to vacate the Old Trafford hot seat and I believe the time will then be right for Pep to further his coaching CV by taking up the reigns at another footballing behemoth with no little history.
Bayern are getting a coach who has reinvented the wheel to an extent. Hard working, dignified, humble and classy. Football should be thankful for Pep Guardiola.