Editorial: Learning Lessons from the Past

Last night’s defeat to Reading left Gianfranco Zola winless in ten games since taking the hotseat at St Andrew’s. Predictably, it’s added fuel to the fire in the bellies of those who want the Italian removed. Where do we go from here?

Gianfranco Zola

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana, The Life of Reason: Vol 1 Reason in Common Sense, 1905-06

I’m going to come out and say this – I’m still very much against the sacking of Gianfranco Zola. I still believe that sacking Zola now would be counterproductive and reactionary.

As Santayana might have been paraphrased, those who don’t learn from the mistakes made by that shower over in B6 are condemned to repeat them.

They’re on their sixth permanent manager since June 2011, they had the 20th highest wage bill in the world and they’re below us in the table having got spanked 3-0 by Brentford, having spent more this season than the Bees have spent in total in their 127 year history.

Throwing money at problems and hiring/firing managers does not work.

I’ve seen suggestions from fans that Panos should get down on bended knee to ask Rowett come back.

Right now, I honestly think there is more chance of me taking Jennifer Lawrence on a date, bumping into Natalie Dormer, taking them both home for a nice game of Scrabble having bought the winning lottery ticket at the shop and missed a call from Rowett himself asking me to be his number 2.

Regardless of what you believe about Rowett and applying for other jobs surely it must be understood that there was an irreparable breakdown in the relationship between Rowett and TTA/Panos. In that situation there was only going to be one winner – and it wasn’t going to be Rowett.

Likewise, those who suggest that Zola be canned for a “proper” manager like Nigel Pearson, Alan Pardew or <shudder> Neil Warnock need to understand that is never going to happen either.

I’ve mentioned before there were other managers in the frame before Zola got the job. When you hear those managers were John Toshack, Francesco Guidolin, Michael Laudrup and Michel, do you honestly think TTA will go for someone like Pearson?

Me neither.

Sure, I can agree that Zola wouldn’t have been my choice. Zola could do with understanding Santayana too – change cannot be absolute because you lose what was successful in the first place. Evolution not revolution.

However, it’s almost kinesiophobic to think that we couldn’t have gone further without Rowett. Rowett had taken us to a certain level, had organised the team and made it a solid midtable side. It was never going to go any further though – and sometimes one has to chance potential pain and move – stasis only leads to stagnation in football.

TTA clearly were happy to take a chance with that pain.

Right now, there are two inalienable facts Blues fans need to recognise.

Firstly, Zola is going nowhere right now. There are two scenarios where I can see him getting canned. If we’re in genuine relegation danger, then yes, I think change will be made because it will be have to be. However, I don’t think it would get that far. I think if Panos Pavlakis’ job is threatened by Zola’s continual failure, then I’d totally expect Panos to chuck Zola and his staff under the bus to protect himself.

Secondly, TTA does not care what Joe Bloggs Season Ticket Holder thinks. They’re operating to a plan – they know what they want – and I think how well we’re doing in the league might just be a red herring.

Again, Santayana. Look at those around us and think about how their situation might happen to us.

Wolves are an interesting situation. They’re obviously connected to Jorge Mendes, and among other transfers they’ve taken three players on loan from Benfica – of whom they’ve bought one. While I wouldn’t say they’re a “feeder club” there is clearly some sort of relationship there between Wolves and Benfica.

Panos met Claudio Chiellini, Juventus’ loan manager last month in Turin. Is it possible he’s looking to build a relationship? Is there money in Blues being a “feeder” type club for the Old Lady of Italian football?

I don’t know the answer to these questions – however I’m starting to wonder if the Zola/Rowett thing is the wrong fight to be fighting.

Wouldn’t it be a terrible thing if we spent so much time fighting among ourselves about Rowett and Zola we missed the bigger picture?

I can’t stop people complaining about Zola – I wouldn’t try. I would hope that people did think about the whole situation though.

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