THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

{mosimage} 17 September ~ So the John Toshack era ends with a 1-0 defeat against Montenegro. Six years of rebuilding saw Wales fall spectacularly at the first hurdle. Toshack had always asked to be judged by results and clearly saw enough in the Montenegro defeat to step down. There were a few ex-professionals (led by everyone's favourite 606 presenter Robbie Savage) calling for change, but it was unlikely the FAW would have forced the issue had Toshack not done so.

In truth, Toshack realised that the players wouldn't or couldn't perform for him and I think his heart wasn't in the job since the huge number of pull-outs for the end-of-season friendly in Croatia, a match Toshack had specifically targeted as a practice run for the Montenegro game. Despite the speculation about Ryan Giggs becoming manager, this was always unlikely given his commitment to Manchester United. Just to be sure, Sir Alex Ferguson came out promptly in the press to quash any such rumours – "I spoke to him, it will not happen".

The FAW has moved quickly and appointed Brian Flynn on an interim basis for the two October matches. Flynn has made it clear that he wants the job permanently despite losing out the last two times the job was advertised. It's a sensible appointment and he has already injected an enthusiasm that had been sadly lacking under Toshack. For one thing he actually smiles in interviews and is keen to stress positives rather than the negatives.

His knowledge of the young Welsh players is unrivalled given his work with the Under-17s, 19s and 21s and is seen by many as the architect of the flow of young players into the senior squad. His chances of success may rest in persuading some of the more experienced players who retired under Toshack, such as Giggs and Simon Davies, to come back and supplement the younger team members. The ideal coaching scenario would be a combination of youth and experience in the form of a Flynn and Giggs partnership. Whether this will come to fruition will however depend on how Sir Alex views matters and how committed Giggs is to managing his country.

So did Toshack fail? His tenure was a failure judged on results alone and there is no doubt that Toshack's Wales failed to capture the imagination of the public, with very poor crowds leading to a shift away from playing future games in the Millennium Stadium. In the long term his successor may benefit from the legacy he has left, one created with the aid of Brian Flynn. Whether Flynn is able to reap the rewards of his own hard work, however, remains to be seen. Paul Ashley-Jones

Comments (2)
Comment by Typey 2010-09-17 22:30:32

Good article Paul, spot on mate. Hope we can get 4 points from next 2 games, we'll be right back in it then for 2nd place!!!

Comment by Jongudmund 2010-09-20 13:29:00

Did Toshack fail?

Public slanging matches with key players at the beginning of his stint. Mediocre results. Lost the fans. Best players 'retired' (quit).

If he was a club manager he'd have been sacked about 3 years ago.

Before he was manager he could tell you everything that was wrong with the Welsh team. He had nothing but criticism for Mark Hughes.

When he became manager it quickly became clear that he could point out problems but had no idea how to rectify them.

A lot of people point to his willingness to bring through young players. He didn't have many options, though when the players he had vociferously slagged off decided they didn't want to play for him (surprise, surprise).

Did he fail? Yes, on every level.

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