January 27, 2013
MY TWO CENTS
Petke is ready and able, but his long-term success could be determined by his relationship with Henry
Vish Murthy is a long-time Red Bulls fan who lives in Princeton, N.J.
"The opinions reflected in the My Two Cents columns do not express the views of the editors or management of BigAppleSoccer. com"
By Vish Murthy
Special to BigAppleSoccer.com
Until Thursday, in my book, Mike Petke has done just about everything right.
All of us witnessed him both at Giants Stadium and at Red Bulls Arena. He was always a clear fan favorite. His play displayed the passion and energy and leadership that brands both the individual and the team. He was a class act with a never-die-attitude. Things really gelled for all the fans when he came to the aid of a fallen teammate, Mike Ammann (another MetroStars favorite), with his t-shirt screaming at a sense of injustice and of a football crime having been committed!
Having said all of this (all of which is known) and wishing for him to be our coach, his inexperience does not bother one as much as a couple of other things. Just look at the chance one took with Jason Kreis and see how it paid off. By the same token, one has seen this team with all the stellar coaches in the world like Brazil's Carlos Alberto Parreira or Portugal's Carlos Queiroz come and go without having left any impression of their greatness with anyone.
No, what really worries me is the image of Petke (however bright he is or however good he may turn out later) being "shoe'd in" as a failure for the Red Bulls not finding anyone else. The Red Bulls, also have advanced no reasons as to why they have shown no considerations towards an available and senior coach like Steve Nichol. In terms of the image of someone as a "coach," men like Nichols have shown quite a bit of their pedigree to be accepted in natural terms.
A second reason, that has me more worried for Petke, is the acceptance factor by people like Thierry Henry and Juninho (an unknown factor for a great footballer at this time). I don't include Tim Cahill with them, because I think Cahill is a great ambassador of the game and would do his bit no matter what the conditions offered to him are.
Henry is an icon, who has done about everything at the highest alter of football/soccer. But, he is a totally unpredictable one, with many a mood swing (he has quite a little bit of the "street" streak in him). He dictates. He will wear a MetroStars band one day proclaiming a good feel with the fans, and the very next day head butt an opponent for no reason, to earn a callous red card and sacrifice his own team. While one can say nothing but speak in superlatives about his individual goals, he has got to come together with Petke, now, and support him in terms of creating that all important chemistry within the Red Bulls, both on and off the field.
He has got to come to Petke and learn to accept him, in absence of anything similar to "God! what have I come down to after having been with Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger?"
Petke, by now, having played with him, and having sat next to him enough times in a different capacity, would have soaked in enough of Henry's individual star "bling." Any head butting now between the two and sulking for any reason, will be the downfall of this team!
On paper, the Red Bulls look formidable. But without team chemistry they are done. Sporting Kansas City proved it last year, that you don't need any star names, so long as the team itself gels like a star.
A while back, Greece proved the same thing. The Greeks won the European Championship without a single member's name being pronounceable, let alone being known.
The key to Petke's appointment has more to do with what Henry will do. Petke already has offered enough proof in his relationships that he knows how to offer a hand.
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