A lot of managerial appointments in football seem to be little more than an exercise in fingers-crossed hope . Good networking; a strong well-practised interview; a reputation forged on past success. All these things can land you a decent job. But it doesn’t make you the right fit for a football club.
However, sometimes the appointment just looks and feels right. Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. David Moyes at Everton. Ian Holloway at Blackpool. More recently, Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. There are lots of examples. The managers personality, values and philosophy matches that of the club, the fans and the town. A perfect fit.
And so it is with Lee Johnson. Named Bristol City manager this weekend. A former player. A young 21st century manager. Highly regarded in the game. An apprenticeship served. Ready for a club that can match and support his modern thinking. He arrives at his former employers with them in a perfect place to absorb state of the art football leadership. Going through managers every few seasons. Shortly to increase their Ashton Gate capacity to 27,000. It’s time for both stability, development and progression.
Lee Johnson’s love of the club gives him an important emotional attachment. That emotional attachment allows you as manager to understand how the fans and people of the city think. Their hopes, dreams and aspirations. You become their representative in the managers office.
Its the Golden Triangle of The Club; The Fans; The City. All coming together at the same place and time, in unity. Held together by the manager as leader. (Bill Shankly’s relationship with the Liverpool Kop is the perfect example of this).
Of course it may not all align straight away. It takes time for new thinking, leadership and cultural change to take hold. But if the Bristol City board are long-term in their thinking, then there is a very strong chance that Lee Johnson will lead them to the promised land of Premier League establishment. And create a new Bristol City DNA.