In Riga we trust
Well what choice do we have? But in a pack full of liars, sycophants and total incompetence Jose maybe the only chance we have and we need him on our side, like he needs us on his.
We are in the last chance saloon and we find the 58-year old in there with us. Siege mentality is what is needed, and trust.
Riga earned our respect first time around. I thought he deserved to continue his work, but he was denied, possibly because he asked for too much self governing, possibly because Roland Duchatelet thought he knew better. I know who I trust.
Unlike Peeters, Luzon and Fraeye, Riga at least knows this league and the ceaseless demanding and unwieldy pressures that it brings. His spell at Blackpool, tortuous as it was, would have been a deep learning curve in man-management and dealing in difficult circumstances. My, working for both Karl Oyston and Roland Duchatelet, Riga deserves the Nobel peace prize.
In the first fortnight of his second spell in charge, Riga has at every opportunity made it clear that he wants to be his own man. He dropped each one of Fraeye/Meire’s recent new signings, wants to offload Vaz Te and will pack Williams back to Middlesbrough today.
He convinced the board that they should buy another centre-half, but one that he had previously worked with and had a good feel that he could play competitively in The Championship. And just as important, Teixeira was fit and ready to play. How many of our new signings under Duchatelet can we say that about?
Then last week as the club made a loan offer to 17-year old West Ham starlet Reece Oxford, Riga vetoed the move. Not a slight on the player as Oxford is expected to go a long way in the game, but Riga, given l would expect limited funds, felt that a defensive midfielder is not what is needed. Instead he would rather the club focus their intentions on the more experienced Arsenal midfielder Serge Gnabry.
After judging Wim De Corte, Riga asked and was given his own assistant. Okay Jose Jeunechamps is also known to Duchatelet, which I am sure helped in Riga’s request, but Jeunechamps knows Riga, they know each other. They worked together at both Standard and Metz.
I always got the impression that since Powell and Dyer were sacked, head coaches, assistant head coaches, first team coaches, interim’s, whatever the owners want to label them have always been thrown together. If players see a manager and an assistant manager working in concert, with the same ideologies and principles then they buy into that. If there is an obvious cascading of information and advice, then that helps built trust and teamwork.
By the time Riga returned I got the impression that the Tony Watt ship had already sailed. Riga instantly put him back in the first team and felt he could work with him and I have never believed that the ‘Watt issues’ amongst the squad were anywhere near as bad as some have said, but the owner had already moved the Cardiff check into his deposit account. He was to be shopped and money raised, either now or off the books on loan and a transfer fee to be realized at the end of the season.
Riga had to accept that, and would have already planned for it plus Watt’s departure I hope at least prevents Duchatelet turning to Ademola Lookman for his next pay day.
Riga won’t get it all his own way and this relationship will eventually turn sour like every other time, but for now, in this moment we need each other, and I am getting the impression that Riga and the players are secretly cheering us on as we seek to remove the regime that employs them.
I may not understand a man who keeps going back to someone who has treated him so badly, who insists on “owning the dressing room” whilst all around him he has interference, ineptitude and callowness, but who do we trust to help make this mess right?