Saturday, 4 April 2009

Shearer is an Outlier


I recently read a book... Cover to cover, one with no pictures in and one that barely even mentioned football (well it did, but it called it 'soccer'). The book is called Outliers and is about factors that come together to make people extra-ordinarily successful. Malcolm Gladwell gives loads of examples about the way in which things like circumstance can make people successful, culture makes people successful (there is a chapter on Korean Airlines that is both scary and brilliant) and he also talks about something called the 10,000 hour rule.

The 10,000 hour rule is about how to be successful you need to be obsessive in approach and put in loads of practice to be able to be successful. Galdwell mentions that one of the reasons that The Beatles were so successful was because of the amount of time that they spent on stage in Hamburg in the early 60's. It was due to that amount of effort put in that they perfected and honed their music and stage craft, all of which contributed to their success.

I was musing on this as the image of a football obsessed youngster is often recounted. A child with the desire to play football that is so strong that the description of them is that they "always had a ball at their feet". Its that obsession that has driven players like Beckham (who has characterised this as OCD) Messi and Rooney to get to the top of their profession. Just a shame then that some of the current NUFC squad see the ball, look slightly startled and then have to remember what they are supposed to be doing...

I suspect that the current incumbent in the dug-out at SJP was one of those obsessives. He'll have put in his 10,000 hours as a player, perfecting and honing his skill and understanding of the game. His muscle memory will have been perfected, so that most of the time he'll have been scoring goals without even thinking about what he had to do. It was this that allowed him to adapt his game as his body slowed down, and allowed him to still be productive as a player into his 30's.

However, as many have pointed out (including professional mackem - Louise Taylor) the part this is missing from Shearer's armory is his managerial experience. That may be, but he's been so steeped in the game for so long, and most importantly immersed in Newcastle United since those childhood times, that he does understand the workings of the club and the things that he needs to do.

Shearer may fail as a manager, he may not succeed in getting NUFC out of the parlous situation that the club is in. But one thing I'd guess is that Alan Shearer's 10,000 hour managerial clock is now running and he'll be driven enough to keep going until its reached the prerequisite level.

So, aside from the boost that every club gets as a new manager arrives, the arrival for the last eight games of the season will be a lifeline for little EMO... As no doubt he'll be freshly re-installed as captain and will probably start scoring again. EMO and Shearer are similar... but that's for another post... A point against Chelsea this afternoon will be a good start.

Howay the lads

1 comment:

TeeTotallyNot said...

It's his drive and the fact that he was one of the best playing the game that keeps my hope alive.. if he can pass on his knowledge (incl. secret elbow moves :) to the current "quality" players... we might surprise a few...
keeping the faith.