So today, in a thoroughly unsurprising development, New Zealand Football announced that Anthony Hudson’s tenure as All Whites coach is over.
It was always going to be thus, one feels. He’s an ambitious guy. We were always a stepping stone to something else. And for a man who so carefully curates his image, it’s only prudent to move on, after a better than expected performance in the intercontinental playoff and before there’s any risk of messing up his record by outstaying his welcome.
Of course, for some fans, he had outstayed his welcome by about day 3. Many seem to have taken an instant dislike to him and since then he has done himself no favours by exhibiting many of the PR instincts of a hog-nosed skunk.
The dancing on the streets of Harare when Robert Mugabe announced his resignation as President of Zimbabwe wasn’t that far removed from the scenes of jubilation from some quarters of Twitter at this news closer to home!
Is that fair? Of course not.
Is he, as NZF are painting him, a wonderful coach we should all be proud of though? I wouldn’t go that far either.
I see it like this:
I don’t care that we lost to Uzbekistan, Thailand, Belarus and drew with Myanmar.
Of course friendlies are important. You use them to prepare for your real goals. You try things, test formations, test drive players, develop combinations, work on certain aspects of the game. But the results of those games do not matter a jot. You don’t judge a pavlova by a bowl full of egg whites.
I don’t care that we won ugly in some Oceania tournaments.
We got to the Confederations Cup, we qualified for the intercontinental playoff. Maybe it’s the Italian in me but champagne football is well behind getting what we need on my priority list.
I don’t care that he edits his own Wikipedia page. Honestly, I couldn’t care less about that. If anything, it’s just a little bit funny. Not a reason to hate the guy.
On the other hand I do care that he’s resentful of criticism, aggressive towards the media and a bit inconsistent with his logic. I also care that he was behind the sacking of some perfectly good coaches from the men’s age-group set-up. But those are personality issues. Not issues with his ability to coach the national team.
Lots of good coaches are and have been difficult individuals. Brian Clough, Fabio Capello and Jose Mourinho are the ones who immediately spring to mind – all three of whom make Anthony Hudson look like Pope Francis. Even though I do accept that if you’re going to be a bit of a pillock, winning the European Cup with Nottingham Forest, Serie A with Roma and the Champions League with Porto do give you a certain immunity from criticism for it that winning the OFC Nations Cup doesn’t quite afford you.
But at the end of the day, the guy had one job and one job only – get us to the World Cup. In that, he failed. But he got us closer to knocking Peru over than we dared to dream so as far as I’m concerned he gets a tick for that and everything else is essentially irrelevant.
Categories: All Whites
A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/