Have you caught the stuff in the press these last few days about those at the very top of our primary sports criticising each other? In the Sundays we saw both Lawrence Dallaglio and Mike Catt (both of whom I have lots of time for) criticising the England team manager Brain Ashton for his ineffective leadership during the RWC, in their autobiographies released now they have announced their retirements from the international game. This came on the heels of former England cricket team coach, Duncan Fletcher, announcing in his autobiography that his captain during the disastrous Ashes series, Freddy Flintoff, was irresponsibly pissed for much of the time.
What does that make you think? Initially of course it’s that they’ve all get to sell their books. Fair enough. In the case of LD and MC I’m entirely sympathetic. The RWC was a shambles until the players forced a re-think by Ashton of his whole strategy and approach. It wasn’t a secret and it worked, even if it means Ashton comes out of it without great credit. Too bad. He seems to be a great coach and a useless manager. He’s not the first and I hope they continue to find a role for his talents.
In the Fletcher case I’m far less happy about his revelations. It just seems to me that he a) shouldn’t have appointed FF in the first place if he know about his problem b) when he did find out, he ought to have stripped him of his captaincy and sent him home and c) if he wasn’t going to do the latter then he really should have kept quiet about it. Freddy, in his autobiography launched earlier, presented a discreetly complimentary view of DF even though it is pretty widely known that they didn’t get on. Is that good or bad? I think it’s entirely decent.
DF didn’t have too many issues with FF when he was a major influence in winning the Ashes over here when his ‘refuelling’ habits were equally strong I assume. But to rubbish and blame Freddy’s drink problems for the outcome of the series following both their sackings strikes me as terribly shallow and mean-spirited.
Freddy may be hugely flawed but he performed like one of the cricketing gods for his country during the Ashes win over here and will remain in our affections for those deeds forever. You Duncan were simply a decent manager/coach of the team until the blame affliction got the better of you. So frig off back to Zimbabwe or wherever and lead a life as pure as the driven snow if you can.