Recently we have seen the demise of David Moyes as coach of Manchester United. With a win/loss percentage of 52%, a figure perhaps Sabri Lamouchi would be proud of, the fans and media of one of the world’s biggest franchises deemed this unsatisfactory. Comparatively we look in our own backyard to the sacking of Mickey Arthurs, former South African cricket coach brought out here to coach our national team. During his tenure the Australian Test team won 11 out of 21 tests, which, eerily enough gives a win/loss percentage of 52%.
We can look at this one of two ways…Either both men were completely out of their depth in taking over the head job of two popular, successful, and revered teams, or, the number 52 is ingrained into our psyche as a cut off point of what is acceptable, and what isn’t.
David Moyes showed great potential as a junior, captaining the U18 Scottish National football team, had varied success at Celtic before playing for a string of First Division teams, (which in football terms, is actually the second division) preferring to be a successful player in a B side, compared to being an ordinary player in an A side. Mickey Arthur grew up in Natal and went to Westville Boys’ High School, whose other alumni include ‘Dapper’ George Koumantarakis, and people’s favourite Errol Stewart (no relation). Arthur was an adequate batsmen who happened to have a good innings when selectors were in the crowd, and like Moyes, was elevated to a prominent position in a B side, that being South Africa A. Confused by all the A’s that are B’s and firsts that are seconds? I’m guessing the board members were too.
Some can argue second rate players make the best coaches, look at Wayne Bennett, legend of the NRL, or Robert Wright, current coach of the Australian Men’s Netball team. Looking at the stats, Bennett was a winger who managed only minimal representative duties and Wright, well, there are no stats available for Australian Men’s Netball. This reporter can only assume Wright played before he coached. As you would in Australian Men’s Netball. But one cannot place Moyes or Arthur in that category, failure has followed them from their playing career into their coaching attempts.
So what then of this cut off percentage of 52%? Much like Jim Carrey’s movie The Number 23, we can see the percentage 52% be attributed to many and varied things. Mostly negative. We see that Angry Birds sales have dropped 52% in the past year, 52% of women have been harassed in the work place in the last 12 months, tourism in Egypt has fallen 52% this year, but most worrying ticket sales are down 52% for this year’s Australian Artistic Skating Championships. Ron Jellse would be rolling in his grave if he knew that. Pardon the pun
Whatever the underlying reasons are, both coaching failures have been career destroying for both. Arthur is now head coach of the 1st XI at a Boy’s School in Perth, and you can catch Moyes with his own commentary of the upcoming World Cup, as he streams it from his Amstrad in his basement, whilst listening to the BBC5 coverage. I wish them luck in their future endeavours. HB