End of cycle for IPL’s own Barcelona-the Super Kings?
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Jonathan Wilson's very academic dissection, in the Guardian this week, of Barcelona and Pep Guardiola's decline (http://goo.gl/1lLXF) is worthy of much analysis. This is a shortish article so lets get into it straightaway.
First, let us not forget that Barcelona is a team that many still view as the greatest on the planet, they won a couple of trophies this year, made the semi-final of the Champions League and finished a very strong second in La Liga, in the eyes of some a league that produces the highest quality of football. Many managers, owners and fans would have celebrated it as a great year. But Barcelona cannot, for like Manchester United and Tendulkar and Federer they are condemned to be weighed in different scales. A second place for Valencia or Arsenal would be a moment to celebrate; for Barcelona or United, something to grieve over.
Wilson also quotes a Hungarian coach, Bela Guttman, as saying that the third year is fatal; that that is normally the span of a great team. It is arguable but it is much debated in family businesses too; where the patriarch struggles and sets up something from scratch, the next generation that has seen strife understands the value of what he has done and takes the business to new heights and finally the third, unaware of adversity and the need to stay rooted and fight your way out of trouble, leads the decline. You see that in individual sport; the mystery bowler and the girl with the booming forehand surprise everyone initially, ride the wave in the second and become predictable and uni-dimensional in the third; unless they have learnt to re-invent themselves in the interim.
Often great teams are blinded by success, they make the mistake of thinking that success will continue to flow and in doing so, ignore the reasons that produced success in the first place. The great West Indies team went into decline because that great generation had been built on discipline and rigour; in subsequent teams that was a matter of individual choice not a team ethic. The men that mattered didn't worry about the back end, about the systems that would keep the supply line running. Maybe they began believing in stories of their own invincibility, a state of mind that afflicts even the mightiest.
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