MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Edinburgh is dealing well with adversity
9:00am Tuesday 30th October 2012 in Sport
HOW a manager acts in adversity ultimately defines them.
If they remain strong and have confidence in their convictions and belief in their philosophies they can survive most scenarios, just as Alex Ferguson did way back when at Manchester United.
It seems absurd now that arguably the greatest manager of all time was a result away from the axe, if the Mark Robins FA Cup victory isn’t just one of football’s urban legends.
With Newport County’s previous three managerial incumbents I’ve seen that each individual handles things differently.
When things went wrong for Peter Beadle, he belligerently ignored the advice of others who told him the squad needed strengthening. Beadle stuck with the status quo, County failed to reach the Conference South playoffs when three points out of the last three games would’ve done it, and he promptly got sacked.
Then there was Dean Holdsworth, a man, let us not forget, who endured six months of cat calls and abuse when he took over as the Exiles faithful wrote him off.
Holdsworth in his first season had a default setting during that miserable period of constantly tinkering with his personnel. His chopping and changing would’ve made Claudio Ranieri wince.
Then there was Anthony Hudson, the least experienced man and the one who handled the tough times worst and who suffered the most.
Hudson was so assured of his own vision being the right one he ended up laying the blame in the wrong places when results didn’t go his way.
He couldn’t accept the players letting him down were the ones he signed and fell out with the wrong ones, like Sam Foley and Ismail Yakubu. It was folly in the extreme.
On Saturday, for the first time, I saw how Justin Edinburgh acts in the face of adversity and I was impressed in the extreme.
County have had a dismal week, an embarrassing, even humiliating, exit from the FA Cup followed up by a first home league defeat.
And with due respect, Yate and Woking are two sides Edinburgh will have expected to beat.
He’s coming under growing pressure to make signings – the fan default answer to EVERYTHING – with emphasis particularly on the need to get in more defenders.
But Edinburgh has faith in his five defenders, doesn’t want to risk upsetting the balance just because of one bad week.
Edinburgh doesn’t want loan players sitting in the stands and is sticking to his guns on Andrew Hughes providing enough cover, for now.
However, despite explaining in detail last week why he wasn’t looking to make big changes, Edinburgh has seemingly changed his tune after Saturday’s defeat.
Far from being indecisive, I think this shows excellent perspective. A manager can’t always be proactive, sometimes they must be reactive and Edinburgh has now seen something he must address.
Namely, that the Exiles’ previously potent attack has stopped scoring and, in truth, they’ve been overly reliant on Aaron O’Connor all season.
That means new arrivals in attack and in order to balance the books, two current strikers could well depart.
And the chances are at least one of them will be a summer signing made by Edinburgh.
No thoughts of ‘how does that make me look’, no dilemmas about owing a player a certain level of loyalty.
Edinburgh’s straight talking on Saturday was impressive in itself and the fact he’s willing to address what he sees as an issue, even though it’s contradictory to what the supporters feel, shows a great belief in his own judgement.
And why not? Edinburgh’s track record at County is sensational and he’s proved time and again he knows better than you and I.
His willingness to make change, to react to Woking as a defeat too far, encourages me greatly.
County have a bold and brave manager happy to make decisions and then explain them, and that’s why I believe the Exiles can and will continue to punch above their weight.