Doomed from the Start

Posted on December 6, 2012 15:36

L’affaire Cruyff came to its predictable end this past weekend in Guadalajara. Hardly a surprise given both (Chivas owner) Jorge Vergara’s and Johan Cruyff’s record of not playing well with others. It also shouldn’t be a surprise how the relationship was terminated.

On the web and via twitter.

Chivas made the announcement that Cruyff’s three year contract as an adviser would be terminated right in the middle of the 2nd leg of last Sunday’s Toluca-Xolos final. Were we burying the lead or was this a classic cry for attention?

It turns out that Cruyff has not bookmarked Chivas’ website nor does he follow Chivas on the twitter because he had no idea he had been canned when members of the Dutch press asked him about it on Monday.

“I don’t know anything. I just heard about it. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on,” he told De Telegraaf.

The Chivas fornt office did let him know, though… by sending an e-mail to the Cruyff Institution in Mexico. When was the last time Johan checked that inbox? Isn’t that akin to dumping your girlfriend by sending her the news to the hotmail account she has not used in over 5 years?

As team owner, Jorge Vergara has paid for the privilege to do what he wants, and over the past decade he has been very active. Or meddling, depending on how one sees it. Regardless, the one constant for Chivas over the past decade is that the owner has made a litany of rash decisions. And over the past few years, the decisions he has made haven’t worked out at all.

Was ending the relationship with Cruyff a rash decision? The Dutch master was given full autonomy to run the soccer side of the business. In doing so, he brought in his own coach, sodded the playing surface at the Omnilife, and persuaded the usually miserly Vergara to find his checkbook to buy players in the off-season. Nevertheless, He did stay in Europe for most of the season, coming in for inspection only a couple of times.

Chivas’ release stated, “established objectives have not been met.” If Cruyff’s tenure is judged purely by results, then those speak for themselves: their back-door entrance to the liguilla was followed by a first round exit. And they became the first Mexican side to fail to advance past the group stage in the Concachampions. It did not help that Chivas had the misfortune to deal with an excessive number of injuries, buy you make do with what you have. Cruyff isn’t the kind of guy you bring in if you are only looking for short term success. 17-week plans aren’t in his repertoire. He is more of a multi-year, multi-generation guy, which is why this relationship was doomed from the start. Barça wasn’t built in a sales quarter.

Long term projects are the exception, rather than the norm in Liga MX. Which is strange, because the teams that have had the most success in recent history – Toluca, Pachuca, and Monterrey all enjoyed extended periods of success because of stability. Vergara, however, tries to get different results by doing the same thing over and over again: Hiring and firing and hiring and firing…. And we all know what Einstein said about that.

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