I never had the patience for reading Treasure Island – or any book that happened to grace the modular reading lists from A-Level English through undergraduate. I had more to be at.
Back then, Wikipedia proved a potent ally – a quick scour for plots and themes would just about see me through. “When will I ever have to personify the characteristics of Long John Silver in real life?”, I would chortle, whilst the doorman at the Hatfield House Bar, in the heart of Belfast’s student quarter, bid me adieu.
Oh yes, in the heady days of 2009, no one had ever had to deal with the misfortune of hearing of Marco Silva, never mind coming up with a good old literary pun with which to beat him with.
Having anchored at Estoril on the Portuguese Riviera, no one could have imagined back then that almost a decade later, the journeyman right back, who had only ever managed two outings in the Portuguese Primera Liga during a mundane playing career, would hold Premier League giants by the proverbials.
Silva’s meteoric, and oft times chaotic, rise to the top of the European game as a manager is undoubtedly unique. Taking up the reins at Estoril not long after he hung up the boots, he only suffered four defeats in his first twenty four league games in football management, securing the second division title in the process. An unprecedented fifth place finish and qualification for the Europa League in the following season and the big ships were taking notice.
Sporting Club chose to take the gamble. A year into a four year contract, it became hilariously obvious they wish they hadn’t. Despite having secured the Portuguese Cup, Sporting’s first trophy in nine years, four days previously, he was sacked for not wearing a club suit in another cup game. Right…
Undeterred, Marco set sail. Firstly to Greece, managing not to balls up Olympiacos’ annual procession to their domestic title, before unbelievably landing at the most golden of golden coves – the Premier League. That post-dated another strange departure from Piraeus, resigning during the reigning champions preseason tour of Austria. In fairness, winning a one team league wouldn’t exactly get me tingle-tipped either. Beggars couldn’t be choosers at Hull City, however. Languishing at the foot of the table, and with a family of rockets in the boardroom, Marco was given the mandate of saving the sinking ship. He didn’t. Everyone drowned.
That should have been it, surely? With Marco? Surely, that was it?
Cue another set of questionable owners, cue another stepping stone Premier League club. Not unlike his one-legged namesake from Treasure Island, Silva couldn’t miss the opportunity to further his interests. It came as no surprise then, that he eventually came to see Watford less Robert Louis Stevenson, more Awkward Lanky Richarlison. When heavyweights Everton flirted and winked, Marco grinned nervously and played with his all natural brunette hair. When Papa Pozzo didn’t approve and grounded Marco in Hertfordshire, Marco did what Marco seemingly does best. With all the dignity of a love scorned teenage girl, Marco raised hell. Rumours abound, that by the end of the run of only one win in eleven games that saw his tenure at Watford come to an end, Silva was refusing to take training.
And here we are – not a month on from his latest self-progressive plundering, and we stand at quite a disturbing moment in time. Marco Silva, the one-time weary old sea dog who lumbered round small Portuguese ports, is now, perhaps, the most eligible admiral on the high seas.
And what’s more infuriating – at least Steve McClaren knew he was shit. Silva’s behaviour is more akin to that of another arguably self-absorbed Iberian in Mourinho. But as football begins to fall in love with another sharp suited, brown eyed and lusciously haired “Portu-geezer”, someone must take their hand out of their pants for a second and face a few facts.
What has brought Silva to this point? If it’s trophies – it’s two league titles in Dog & Duck leagues and a cup win at a team where they couldn’t wait to get shot of him. If it’s style of play – what has he proved in England to make him worthy of such high praise? I count one relegation and a win ratio of one in every three. If it’s potential – surely homegrown developing talents such as Eddie Howe and Sean Dyche are far more deserving of their chance at a top English club.
There’s always the chance of lightening striking twice, and it’s football after all, so why not? But if José is Blu-ray Disc, Silva, for now, is your five movies for a tenner, market stall copy. A pirate.