If you follow the soccer world, this week's move by Chelsea to sack their manager sent shockwaves throughout the game.
If you don't follow the game you won't know the significance of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's firing of their top notch manager, Jose Mourinho, only seven months after bringing the league title back to Chelsea. His three league titles, FA Cup, Community Shield and three League Cup wins over two runs with the club make him the most successful manager in the club's history.
That's only his success in the EPL. He took Porto to two Portuguese League titles, the 2003 UEFA Cup Title, a few major tournament titles, and European soccer's highest award — the UEFA Champions League title.
After leaving Chelsea after his first run and winning two league titles including the club's first in 50 years and the FA Cup and League Couple double, Mourinho took his game to Italy where he managed Serie A club Internazionale where he won the La Liga title and the Italian version of the "treble" — the Serie A title, Coppa Italia, and the UEFA Champions League.
With a move to the Spanish League, Mourinho also won a title with Real Madrid making him one of only five coaches to have won a league title in four different premier leagues to go along with only a handful of coaches who won the European Cup title with two different teams.
Needless to say, when you fire a coach with that pedigree something must be amiss. It would equate to firing Bill Belichick from the Patriots, Phil Jackson from the Bulls or the Lakers, or Joe Torre from the Yankees. Even Abramovich met with his players in what has been called a "tense" meeting and scorned them that he didn't want to fire Mourinho but was granting many of their players their wish early.
Many players even failed to show up to his post-firing meeting to say goodbye.
Chelsea currently finds themselves in 16th position, near the dreaded "relegation zone" and even suffered a defeat at the hands, or the feet so to speak, of newcomer Bournemouth. I still find it hard to believe that only seven months after leading this same group of players to an EPL title that he's "lost" his players so quickly this season.
Even with a world class coach, the resume of whom is unmatched by any current "football" manager, sometimes it's just time for a change.
If you've "lost" your players either because they won't play for you or even worse they don't respect you, regardless of the amount of talent that may be on the roster or experience and success on your resume, you as a coach have overstayed your welcome. The current players don't respond well to the old, autocratic-type of leadership, with top-down instructions and little praise. Players need to be involved in the management of the team and if they don't feel the respect of the manager, then he'll get little in return. I believe that's what's happened here.
Despite as "Monday Morning Quarterbacks" we as fans have little to do with the inner workings of our favorite team, we like to think we know better as we call for a player to be benched or a coach to be sacked. I have been fighting against all of the Flacco-haters and calling for the heads of John Harbaugh and Dean Pees due to poor performances on the defensive side of the ball, but watching this Ravens season unfold with the highest amount of salary cap space committed to the injured reserve and suffering through our third team playing against the Seahawks last weekend, I have once again become a Harbaugh supporter.
His ability to keep his players focused on every game with a solid game plan that attempts to give them a chance while being out of the playoff hunt realistically for some time now, has been a testament to his connection to his players and their willingness to follow him in to battle every week. That's a rare treat to find in a coach, and one they should hold on to.
As coaches we need to lead our players both from the front to show them the way and from the rear to occasionally give them the swift kick they need to perform. But more than anything we need to motivate our players so that we can accomplish our goals. You can't do that without the respect of your players.
There's an old saying in business that goes, "A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves."
Mourinho needs to look to his players and not to himself to make things happen at his next stop.