Honesty and football aren’t two words you normally find in the same sentence when discussing football.
Then along came Slaven Bilic!
Apart from the results and the style of football – which even the most cynical of his management approach would admit has been refreshing – there has been an outbreak of truth from the new manager which has shocked and delighted me.
Maybe that’s because after spending many years of my life sitting in managers’ press conferences listening to nonsense, exaggerations and downright porkies, I still can’t quite get over it.
It does help of course that he has a law degree, is multi lingual and has a brain which dictates that fans deserve to be told the truth.
Take his latest statements which has made page leads in the papers this morning. Discussing Andy Carroll he made it quite clear that he knew all about the stories of a poor attitude to training, and the like, before going on to discuss AC’s present attitude.
It may not seem like much but trust me it’s a big deal. The vast majority of bosses would have cooked up something like: “What happened before I arrived here is of no interest and doesn’t concern me and I don’t talk about individual players – that stays in the dressing room.”
Why is this infinitely more honest approach important?
Because it makes things far more interesting than they ever were before and because, at what we like to believe remains a family club, we have a manager who treats us all like grown-ups instead of kids who should be patronised.
Squeezing information out of people on the inside of the game is a nightmare. They are ruled by fear of being stitched up and most requests for interviews etc are met with a resounding “NO.”.
So it’s a breath of fresh air when somebody comes along who is prepared to cut through such crap and get to the point without once ever losing it.
If this is the way he treats his players it’s no wonder they are responding!