The manager’s impact shows football still craves a charismatic leader in a world dominated by money and analysis

Deep in the English understanding of football lies a willingness for faith, a yearning for a messiah. Fans want to believe in a hero who will solve all their problems: “We all dreamed of a day when a saviour’d come our way,” as the lyrics of the original 1997-98 Sunderland version of Cheer Up, Peter Reid have it.

There may be complicated psychosocial reasons for that, related to historical governmental and ecclesiastical structures, but at the very least the sense was reinforced by the fact that as football entered its televisual age with the advent of Match of the Day in 1964, the English game was dominated by charismatic leaders.

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It may be that is simply the nature of messiahs. Their rainbows are not to be unwoven

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