What was said
“The most important thing is it calms everything down and takes the desperation out of every press conference, the social media for the clubs, I get that it’s part and parcel of the world we live in now. I think it’s become probably the biggest enemy for any coach now is social media. Everybody is an expert. Everybody has an opportunity to express their opinion.”
“I would never, ever tell a doctor or a dentist or a lawyer what their job is, and yet I seem to have everybody in the world (who can) do my job and can tell me what I’m doing wrong.”
These were Heath’s comments on the Daily Delivery Podcast.
Heath is RIGHT
Adrian is dead on with these comments and when you look at what was said, nobody should disagree with the words chosen by the manager. Social media is a toxic mess for most of society (especially young people) and can be directly traced to aggravating mental health problems.
This is part of the reason I have deleted all of my personal social media accounts, and try to limit my interactions over the internet. Sorry Twitter. Social media warps our understanding and views of the world around us. Most of the things we say on social media, we would not say in a conversation with the person sitting across from us. Yes, I’m aware I sound old when I say this (and don’t worry my students/athletes make sure to tell me this).
This profession of coaching (and managing) at a high level is a double-edged sword. It’s a wonderful lifestyle and you can make a very good living if you make it to the elite in your field, however the criticism can be constant. This happens to some of us in other careers, so some can relate. Although I ask people this, if you woke up and were made aware by your family that thousands of people were using your last name and out as a hashtag because you were struggling at your job how would you feel?
Odds are when you got asked to do a podcast, and it was brought up, you would say the same thing. Honestly, I would probably do the same in his shoes.
This is where I think people can have fair and honest criticism of Heath. Some have pointed out that Heath does seem to use the media when he wants to (especially with national media), however I do not remember him commenting on what many of the fans who show up to the games in the stadium have to say like this before. Especially after a less then ideal start to the season.
“I do know that when you are 0-4 it’s not going to be nice things that I would have been reading.”
Heath is self aware of these things, but commenting on it will not slow down the people who want to see Heath leave (the reasons for wanting him to leave can be traced to many different places). A high level coach knows only one thing stops people wanting to see them leave, trophies. You achieve this by not getting to high, and not getting too low. You also achieve this by getting three points on Saturday...
I understand why Heath said the things he said, and he was correct in doing so. However, elsewhere in the world Villarreal upset Manchester United in the Europa League Final. Was Ole Gunnar Solskjær worried about what the United fans were saying about his job status on social media after the game? No. Is Adrian Heath worried about what MNUFC fans think about his job after the game? My guess is still no, but the comments make it seem like he does care.
At the end of the day a coach who has been around the block knows that they need to speak to the fans, especially in difficult times. However their job is to coach and to manage, not worry about what the fans think. After all, would a reasonable person tell their doctor how to be a doctor. Well in today's climate there are some on social media who would. So why worry about it, why speak about it, and why draw more attention to it (if you’re Adrian Heath). Now was not the time to engage after the start your team had, and you have started to round the corner and starting to fix the start. I get your emotions and feelings are valid (just like the people posting with the hashtag), but saying this right now just doesn’t make sense to me.
That’s just it though, it doesn’t have to make sense to me. I’m just some guy who coaches, and occasionally writes about the soccer team I like to watch. For some perspective, Google “Heath Out” right now. The only thing that comes up on the first page is some Lions player named Joel Heath being out for the NFL season for tearing his ACL.