After England’s Senegalese stroll on Sunday night, I tuned into TalkSPORT to take the nation’s temperature.
And I couldn’t believe my ears.
Let’s bear in mind that England have just reached the quarter-final of the World Cup.
But from the sound of the reaction on the nation’s favourite sports radio station (they said it, not me), you’d have thought Southgate was in charge of Qatar, not England.
According to the vitriolic nonsense being spouted by so-called “fans”, he did EVERYTHING wrong.
Build-up play was too slow…
He made the wrong subs AGAIN…
He doesn’t have a CLUE what he’s doing.
Essentially, you could play mad libs with Gareth Southgate criticisms – I was half expecting him to get the blame for the slightly flat lager in one of the caller’s local pubs.
Why Is Southgate Successful?
Contrary to what many people believe, there is no one single defining factor in the success of any leader.
It’s as true for Southgate as it is for me or you or anyone who’s running a business.
But here’s a stone-cold fact for you:
Southgate is THE best England manager in history – I won’t bore you with the facts, you can look them up yourself.
You can chuck Sir Alf Ramsey at me if you like, but even if you do, he’s still second best, even by that metric.
And yet he gets pelters after every game, even after a comprehensive win.
But you know what I admire most about the man?
He doesn’t get swayed by all the crap spewed out by the media machine and the “fans” who want his head on a platter.
Instead, he’s calm, he’s measured, he’s thoughtful and he weighs up all the information before making decisions.
Sure, he’s not perfect, but then who is?
But as we look at the available evidence, we can see that Southgate is a person who is able to listen to the opinions of the collective (his squad, the media, and the fans) and factor them into his decisions.
And he does so without wavering from his fundamental beliefs.
He knows that everyone plays a part in success – if everyone pulls in the same direction in a team, they’re a heck of lot more likely to get to the destination than if everyone’s out for themselves.
Gareth Southgate manages to find time for every member of his team, squad, and staff. And that’s a hugely important exercise because it means he trusts every person there and they trust him.
There’s much to be taken from his leadership style.
I hope Gareth leads England for many years to come, but I do recognise that nothing lasts forever. If he does leave, he’ll be going to benefit another organisation with his blend of steely-eyed determination and unerring positivity.