Paul Scholes: How to begin and end a career in management in 31 days

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 15 March 2019, 17:18

Even a cursory glance on the internet opens up a whole world of opportunity available in just 31 days.

Let’s assume that’s one month. What exactly is it possible to achieve in one month?

For example, experts say you can crack 20 per cent of a foreign language. You can be juggling your German participles in just over four weeks.

Other areas include learning how to meditate. One website claims that with a bit of willpower it’s entirely plausible to rejig your neurons in 31 days.

Of course, if you are Paul Scholes, in that amount of time, with a bit of effort, it is entirely possible to begin and end a career in football management.

Even by modern-day fast paced standards in which dynasties stand and fall in a matter of months, Scholes’ installation and subsequent resignation as manager of his hometown club Oldham Athletic is staggering.

The former Manchester United midfielder claims the job wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. He adds that he didn’t feel the reality didn’t match the way it was sold to him by club owner Abdallah Lemsagam.

For a start what job ever does live up to its billing? Those of us in everyday jobs readily acknowledge that once reality kicks in, even football management has day-to-day grind.

To give up after seven games and one win seems a tad premature. Especially for someone who enjoyed a glowing reputation as a quiet but tenacious ginge throughout his illustrious playing career.

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That has been undone in the same number of days it takes to turn just one sheet on a calendar. Five hundred games for the biggest club in the land; Eleven Premier League titles - that alone suggests somebody who is a stayer.

For Chrissakes he even went back to Man United to finish the job after announcing his retirement.

Now, there may be more to this situation than any of us except Scholes and Mr Lemsagam really know.

The owner of the League Two club says he has been abroad this week and was informed by Scholes of his immediate resignation via a text message.

 

If so, that’s bad form from a footballer many people outside of Old Trafford admired for his meek demeanour, honest approach to life and football. No frills in an age of hi-glitz glamour which appealed to the remnants of the working classes who can still afford to attend Premier League football.

What those people think of him now is debatable. A player of impressive ability, lauded by the great and good of the game as one of the greatest of his generation - feted for his stickability and durability at the top of his profession for more than ten years.

All that has gone now with one press of the ‘send’ button on his smartphone to quit a job after less than one sixth of the Football League Two season.

What Scholes has also done is undermine the opinions of every TV pundit who dare question managers without ever stepping into the dugout themselves.

Scholes was a well-known critic of former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. He would often cite the Portuguese’s deliberately divisive man management style for dragging down his old team, for eroding the unique spirit at the club, for lowering morale among high profile players.

Yet in just over four weeks Scholes tried it for himself and discovered just how hard it really is.

Mourinho made it evidently clear that during his time at Manchester United, what was promised and what was delivered by the club in terms of signings varied a great deal.

That is what managers up and down the land have to put up with week in, week out. And some of them don’t have Paul Scholes’ money or his fallback career on the telly to fall back on.

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