At first, it is all sweetness and light. The club says the coach is just the man they wanted, a good bloke and a great communicator, the perfect fit. The coach says the club is one he has always admired and suits him down to the ground. In fact, he used to barrack for them. Club and coach say they are in sync in their thoughts about the state of the list, gameplan and premiership window.
When they part ways, the club says it didn’t quite work out, but the coach at no point lost the players and the club was better for the coach’s time there. They wish him well. The coach says that the stars didn’t quite align, but that the kids are good and the essentials are in place, and he is sure success is just around the corner. He wishes them well.
Years later – in a book, an interview, a podcast – it emerges that the club found the coach surly, uncommunicative and out of his depth, leaving the players disillusioned and some in open revolt. They couldn’t wait for him to go. The coach thought the club betrayed him. It was not nearly as well resourced as they had promised, the list was in a mess, the board forever meddling and the whole thing a disaster waiting to happen. He couldn’t wait to go.
Clubs oversell to coaches. Coaches oversell to clubs. Clubs and coaches oversell to players. Managers oversell to players, coaches, clubs. This week, it’s the coaches. A powerpoint presentation, a tour, a psyche test, maybe a second round, and we’ll get back to you. There are variations. One coach didn’t bother to make a powerpoint presentation because he couldn’t (he got the job). Another was brutally honest about a club’s list (he didn’t get the job). Another didn’t really have to present to the board; he was on it. But you get the idea.