The biggest job of Sven’s career?

Posted by - October 5, 2010 - Championship, International

Last throw of the dice for ex-England boss

Perhaps the most ridiculous thing about Sven-Goran’s Eriksson’s appointment as manager of Leicester City is that it is in no way surprising. Nothing now surprises us about Sven.

Less than 10 years ago, Eriksson was appointed manager of England. He was seen as the saviour; seen as the answer to the mediocrity of a national team ongoing since Euro 96. Since then he has flirted between success and comedy, with flirting being the operative word.

Before media circus, Sven managed at the highest level of domestic football with great success. He won the UEFA Cup in 1982 and was runner-up in 1983 and 1998. He reached the final of the European Cup in 1990 and won seven national cups. He has won five national titles, a Cup Winners’ Cup and a Super Cup. He has won 17 trophies. Leicester have only ever won 11.

It is a glamour appointment for Leicester, but possibly a glorious last roll of the dice from Milan Mandaric, the Foxes chairman. The Serb may well be moving aside when the expected Thai takeover of the club goes ahead, but he has to be congratulated for this coup.

So why, with such an enviable domestic record, has the Swede chosen to take control of Leicester City – third-bottom of the Championship?

Let’s give Sven the benefit of the doubt. Maybe this is a chance for him to put some of his recent mistakes behind him. Maybe he wants to get back to the bread and butter, day-in-day-out of being a club football manager. If he manages to succeed at the Walkers Stadium, then he can be taken seriously again as a motivator and tactician after recent forays into international management.

He also has apparently taken to the East Midlands, and continues to own a luxury apartment on the banks of the River Trent in Nottingham. Clearly this job makes sense to Sven in a geographical sense.

The problem is that Eriksson has almost moulded himself into a comedy figure, partly through his own fault and partly through the fault of others. His England tenure was soured by allegations of affairs and he has failed in his last two managerial jobs with Ivory Coast and Mexico.

His last domestic appointment was as director of football at Notts County, where he became the ‘face of the farce’ as the club were seemingly duped by Munto Finance, an Asian investor that used the word ‘Finance’ in their name quite wrongly.

Moreover, there is a feeling that Sven almost courts the media bandwagon that he receives. Even if he is intending to get back to basics at Leicester City, both club and fans will be more than aware that Leicester are suddenly going to be front and back page news. The way in which Craig Bellamy invites Sky Sports cameras whenever he plays for Cardiff will be multiplied tenfold by the ‘Sven effect’.

But the crux of this story is slightly darker. Forgetting Sven’s idea of recreating The Good Life, this is actually a crossroads for the Swede. It is one thing to fail in the England job and be redeemed, as Steve McClaren has shown. And it is one thing to fail in the Manchester City job (fail might be a bit harsh. Ed.) and be redeemed, and Mark Hughes is a portrayal of this.

It is very much another thing for Sven to fail at Leicester City. Leave a high profile job and a manager can hope to be given a second chance. Fail at Leicester, and Sven may have terminally damaged a career that once promised true glory.

Just a decade ago, Sven-Goran Eriksson was spoke of in the same bracket as Marcelo Lippi, Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. A lack of success at Leicester City would liken him to Martin Allen, Rob Kelly and Micky Adams. That’s a hell of a way to fall.

  • Marc Greaves

    i agree somewhat to a few of the failures of managers he could be compared to if he didnt do well, but u cant put micky adams in the same bracket…he got us promotion whilst in administration and never had any money to spend so what could the man do. i agree with most of this article though hehe

  • LanguedocFox

    “It is one thing to fail in the England job …” Are you saying that Eriksson failed in the England job? If so, you need to stop reading the Daily Heil. Eriksson didn’t do as well as he might have done, but he got us to the quarter finals of three successive international competitions, something NO other manager has done before or since. When he took over from The People’s Favourite St Kevin of Keegan, we were bottom of the group and on our way out of the 2002 World Cup. With the same bunch of players as Keegan, we qualified at the head of the group. Including whacking Germany 5-1 in Munich (I was there!!)

    He got us to the quarter finals in Euro 2004 in Portugal and the World Cup in Germany 2006, before handing over to McClaren, who didn’t get us to the Euro 2008 finals, and on to Capello, who could only get us to the last 16 in South Africa.

    On the other hand, I don’t see him staying at City for two years, and certainly not if Mandaric stays around. Last Thursday Mandaric was widely quoted as saying “Now is the time for us to show how strong we are together, how united we are behind our manager and give him a chance to get the results.” The manager in question was Paulo Sousa. I am waiting for Mandaric to issue writs against those websites that attributed those remarks to him, thus making him look like a shifty dishonest git whose word is not to be trusted, and who is not fit to be the chairman of a football club. I wonder how long I will have to wait.

    Up the City.

  • Daniel Storey

    I would define failure as the inability to match performance with talent. In2004 and 2006 England had a team that was better than a quarter final team. Simply comparing Eriksson to other incumbents does not necessarily mean that he wasnt a failure. I am not saying he was awful, and certainly would distance myself from some of the tabloid views, but I am saying he did not succeed.

    In his news conference after the 2006 elimination (and him leaving), Sven said;

    “I am sorry to the players and to all England fans, because you deserved better.”

  • brett

    hasn’t sven got the best statistics as england manager? just a thought!!

  • Svenalike

    It’s looking good for Leicester if Sven’s history repeats? He took a whole series of low to mid ranking European clubs to top domestic and international honours before creating “England’s golden generation” from the ashes of Euro2000 and setting several all time records for England; including most international points won, fastest rise up FIFA’s rankings and a unique 3 consecutive top qualifying places and all time record of losing ONLY 5 competitive games 2001 – 2006 leading TheFA to list Eriksson as England’s second most successful head coach after Sir Alf. (Anyone seriously doubting the value of the “Eriksson effect” may ponder the “golden generation” crashing out of qualifying for Euro2008 WITHOUT him?) Eriksson went on to engineer Manchester City’s best season in 3 decades equalling the clubs all time record for the most Premier League points and beating Man U twice along the way. (He would have set a new record if his loyal team hadn’t “gone on strike” on the pitch at the tail end of that season in protest at his treatment?) In spite of his few (very vocal) detractors and the bile he attracts from certain media quarters, His ex-players and club chairmen almost universally praise and admire Eriksson, the England team threatened to strike in his support and both the England and Man City official fan organisations launched mass “Save Our Sven” campaigns in an effort to keep him. Not too bad for a quiet, dignified guy who has clearly devoted his whole life to the benefit of football but is mysteriously dubbed a “fraud” or “looser” by some? Eriksson’s return to English football will doubtless make it a little more interesting and time will tell how long it takes him to re-live past success with (and for) Leicester’s Foxes.., unless of course, yet another ungrateful (or media hype influenced, or would be meddling but who’s interference is rejected?) employer dumps him as a “reward” for providing previously un-equalled successes?
    Eriksson’s methods may baffle the pundits and his quite dignity and inscrutability (not to mention this unmarried man’s perpetual success with some of the world’s most beautiful females?) infuriate the tabloid hacks.., but his results would appear to be a bench mark very few can equal?