‘We’re in a period of transition’, how often is this phrase thrown around? Whether it be a change in players, managers or even owners, ‘transition’ is undoubtedly an overused word in the current football world. But it has got me thinking, is ‘transition’ a legitimate period of time needed for clubs or is it just an excuse?
Most recently, following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United truly are in transition. Any club would struggle from a loss of a man of who brought such stability and consistency across a 26 year reign, let alone the biggest club in the biggest league in the world. The moment that David Moyes took over, Manchester United where in transition, as he looked to bring in his own philosophies to the side. The arrival of Maroune Fellaini and the introduction to players such as Adnan Januzaj has as far yet to prove effective; however this transition may take longer than others, due to the reconstruction needed at the club as the overshadowing figure of Ferguson, still lingers over Moyes.
In 2010, Indian poultry giant, Venky’s took over Blackburn Rovers, a big money move which made many associated with the club excited and eager to see what their new millionaire owners would bring to the club. Venky’s moved swiftly to boost the consistently mid-table Premier league side, promising big signings in the January window, including Brazilian legend, Ronaldinho and English football’s figurehead, David Beckham. However neither move came off and now, fast forward three years and Blackburn find themselves in the Championship, fielding David Dunn and DJ Campbell, rather than Beckham and Ronaldinho. Game after game, fans call for Venky’s to leave the club after a rollercoaster ride of managers, which has seen five different men fired from the helm of the club. In terms of transition, Blackburn’s under Venky’s, hasn’t gone to plan.
However, transition isn't always negative, as you’ll know should you be a Swansea city fan. Who would of thought that the entertaining, club renowned for its possession football, only seven years ago, where playing in league 1, against the likes of Tranmere Rovers and Northampton Town, now they've faced Spanish giants, Valencia in the Europa league. But how did they get here? A transition split into three different stages, under three incredibly talented managers, of who are now considered some of the brightest managers in European football. First came, Roberto Martinez. The Spaniard, of who joined in 2007, brought the possession mentality to the club and forced even the youth system to begin playing in this way, to therefore ensure that this mentality radiates throughout all steps of the club. Roberto saw Swansea rise into the Championship, before leaving for Wigan.
Next came Brendan Rodgers of who hadn't had the most successful of careers in management up until this point, having short and unsuccessful stays at both Watford and Reading, but Swansea, unlike the other two, gave Rodgers time at the club and in his two years at the club brought through young players such as Joe Allen, Scott Sinclair and Fabio Borini, and achieved promotion in only his second year at the club, and left the club after one season in the top flight, leaving them in a stable condition after a very positive first year in the Premier league, finishing 11th. Finally, the appointment of Barcelona legend, Michael Laudrup, has brought attacking intent to possession football, leading to the Welsh side securing the League cup, therefore Europa league football. Swansea could potentially continue to grow, as they've demonstrated that simply a change of manager cannot stop the momentum at a football club.
Then you look at some clubs, such as Tottenham and Arsenal, of who both seem to be in a permanent period of transition. So close to success, but seem so easy to be knocked off track. Whether that be a change of manager, in terms of Tottenham, a change of stadium, in terms of Arsenal, or the sale of their key and best players, in terms of both. More stability needs to be brought to these north London sides, should they want to truly advance in terms of club stature or successful levels.