You have to like the press here.
They always come up with new ways to try to devalue what we’ve done and cast doubt on what this team might still be able to accomplish.
Recently I read a weird new line of attack; it’s called “the theory of the second season trick”.
The underlying idea is that it is more difficult to succeed in a second season than to succeed in a first.
One of the things that makes this fun is that if you don’t just hear about it, there will be a familiar tug on your conscience, which is very deliberate; you might be thinking “I’ve heard of it…” and you’d be right.
But it does not come from football!
The “tricky second season theory” actually comes from TV.
The theory goes that if your first season was successful, it’s extremely difficult to pull off a successful season two because many writers end up recycling ideas and others tend to over-complicate the plot while more so, in an effort to expand the story universe, add lots of new characters, and lose what made the first season so special.
Football has a similar theory, but this is season three and it’s a phenomenon I’ve written about before, and it comes from a widely held belief in the game that a manager begins to lose his power after three seasons in charge.
The idea is hard to prove or disprove, and for a simple reason; most managers never spend three years at a club. The best get fired and the rest get fired. And for every person who can name you a manager that seems to confirm the truth, someone else can throw you another name that seems to refute it entirely.
Jose Mourinho is one of the managers of the ‘three-year cycle’.
But even those who recognize that there is some truth to the idea that his optimal time is before that milestone is reached will say that it’s not that Mourinho loses anything from his trick box, but that certain things that are unique to him – his aggressiveness against the media, his relationship with his own directors – tend to become a bigger part of the show over time, so by year three he has drained a lot of goodwill and patience from those around him.
Some point to Guardiola; his first three years at Barcelona were exceptional and there was a drop in the fourth year. He also seemed to suffer a dramatic fall in his fourth year at City, but he bounced back strongly there to be the undisputed master of the EPL. Jurgen Klopp is another for whom the theory doesn’t hold water at all.
That some in our media cling to such a straw is quite disastrous.
The idea that Ange will run out of ideas or that teams will find out in the second year has not been evident at any of his clubs; indeed, the second year is when the Ange team really starts to roll.
You only have to look at the numbers to realize that our team isn’t even close to peaking yet. Starting with the striker’s stats, which we’ve reviewed time and time again on this site, the pattern that emerges is of a team still finding their feet and continuing to get back into shape. The reconstruction of Ange is not finished either; he still has some adjustments to make.
Not only is there nothing to support the idea of the manager starting to slip into his second campaign, Ange’s career history suggests otherwise in his case.
It contradicts all past precedents. This goes against what we know.
But it’s the kind of pitiful straw snapping that this medium excels at.
Anything to cast doubt on us, anything to lift the spirits of the crowd opposite, who spent the day celebrating that the reconstruction they had been waiting for had been postponed for a year.
And that’s the thing; a team needs a refresh every few seasons, and that’s how some of the best managers have bucked the three-year trend. The likes of Alex Ferguson and others renew their sides with fresh blood and fresh ideas every few seasons…and that’s how they stay ahead. That’s why Ange will be a huge hit next season and beyond.
Apart from anything else, the average age of our team ensures that we will have a foundation to build on for a long time. The tendency of the media to make pious wishes will not change anything, and nothing else either.