The last month has been terrible for any Liverpool fan. To see the team lose multiple premiership matches and two Champions League matches as well was certainly the story of a team hurtling towards disaster.
And last week, as Liverpool got ready to host Manchester United at Anfield, the long knives were out: Rafa (Rafael Benitez, Liverpool’s manager) was in trouble. Lose the match to Manchester United, even draw the match, and his job was in deep trouble.
Rafa could claim (rightly) that injuries have plagued the side, that a few critical decisions have gone against the club and so on; without these the story could have been very different.
But excuses don’t matter to the fans, the true ‘shareholders’ of the club. They want silverware, they want glory, they want the bragging rights that have long been denied them.
Luckily for Rafa, Liverpool went on to dominate Man U and beat them comprehensively.
And he lives to fight another day.
It’s a little unfair. Rafa is only the manager. The players are key to the game; they need to perform on the field, they need to defend and they need to score the goals.
Yet, the manager is the one in hot water. Very rarely are there calls for non-performing players to be sacked.
And it’s getting to be the same story in adland.
Years ago, CNBC India released a hard hitting campaign. I seem to remember that only outdoor was used. One of the ads in the campaign featured a headline that is reminiscent of the current Liverpool saga. It said, simply, “CEOs are more insecure than management trainees”.
This campaign was released about 10 years ago – and it seemed, then, to be more than a bit exaggerated.
Today, when I speak to AsiaPac heads and global heads of advertising and media agencies, I see the campaign anew – and sense no exaggeration.
As we emerge from a very tough year, some CEOs are in deep trouble. As in the case of Rafael Benitez, global management is often cruel and impatient with poor results by local managers, with no excuses allowable.
As is the case of Rafael Benitez, though, one big win before patience runs out could save the day.
Make sure you get that win.