Gary White – the front-runner for the Hong Kong manager job
An article just came out in the South China Morning Post saying that Taiwan’s current manager Gary White will become the next Hong Kong boss depending on it being ratified by Hong Kong’s government who are helping fund a five-year football plan in Hong Kong.
If it goes through this will be an excellent appointment for Hong Kong, as he will be a great fit for them. As for Taiwan, it is definitely a missed opportunity to carry on the path of progression he has put in place for the Taiwanese national side.
Taiwanese football authorities and media have influenced this
The mess going on at the CTFA (Chinese Taipei Football Association) has no doubt in my mind contributed to Gary White and we presume his team wanting to move on to another job where they are offered extra support.
There have been articles in the Taiwanese media regarding Gary White and his management team, stating things like they cost too much money. They have also said his coaching team is worthless and they have made no real progress. This is said as they have not beaten any ‘big’ teams.
With the wins against The Philippines, East Timor, Laos and Singapore not counting because those teams aren’t good. Then Taiwan beat Bahrain and gained loads of FIFA points so, therefore, Taiwan should just play and beat bigger teams than them all the time. This was the message from the Taiwan media at least. The biggest and most damaging article put out was the one by Next Magazine Taiwan which no doubt damaged any relationship between the CTFA, the media and Gary White.
Next Magazine Taiwan did a three-part article exposing all Gary White and his coaching staff issues. The whole write up, however, was nonsense and full of false accusations. It claimed that Gary White fixed a game against Taiwan when he was the manager of Guam to benefit both countries.
They also went on to say his coaching staff were useless. Then they went further and said the Englishman is a terrible manager and he targets playing lower ranked sides for easy wins and Fifa ranking points. These are just a few of the things that Next Magazine Taiwan wrote but anyone with a brain can see why these accusations would be extremely damaging.
Other than the Next Magazine article, the fight for the CTFA chairman position is also affecting football here. There is a risk that if it isn’t sorted out Taiwan could be banned from FIFA competitions. This would be because of government interference which would be a disaster to go with the news of Gary White's departure.
Whoever planted that article in the Next Magazine has a lot to answer for, because it was clear reading the article that the person who wrote it didn’t have any clue about football. Whoever wanted to push Gary White and his staff out of the Taiwan manager’s job has succeeded in what they wanted, and therefore damaged Taiwanese football. (If I am wrong I will say so, we will see. I am willing to bet I won’t be wrong).
Taiwan have improved in White’s short time in charge
Since Gary White has been in charge of the Taiwanese national team he has strived to make the whole set up become more professional, this means money needs to be spent.
Like most things in Taiwan, they want to become more professional and improve, but it must be done on the cheap. It’s not possible to develop quality football infrastructure on the cheap, especially if you want to improve so much that you can be competitive in the sport.
Unlike other major Taiwanese sports – basketball and baseball – football truly is a world game and played in every country, unlike the major Taiwanese sports stated. If your country manages to succeed in being successful at football, it raises the whole profile of your country, just ask Iceland about that.
Gary White has brought players into the national team setup that others hadn't noticed before, and amazingly people in Taiwan have even questioned why he has done this.
The likes of Will Donkin and Tim Chow will no doubt raise the level of the national team, and the local players will benefit from playing with them.
No other country in the world would ignore players available to them playing in professional leagues, but some Taiwanese fans actually believe it’s bad bringing them into the side which is unbelievable. We only hope that these players continue to play for the national side once Gary White leaves because it would be a disaster if someone like Will Donkin is suddenly ignored because it costs too much to fly him from England to Taiwan.
Taiwan will likely plummet back down the World Rankings
Once Gary White has left it is likely that Taiwan will again take the ‘cheap’ option when it comes to picking the next national team manager, and they’ll likely not keep in place the methods Gary White and his staff have used to improve Taiwan.
Oddly they’ll do something which is an extremely Taiwanese thing to do if the next manager comes in and the team become rubbish again they’ll blame Gary White for the team being terrible. The seeds have already been planted for this to happen in the Next Magazine article. When the next manager doesn’t do well, they’ll say, “Gary White is to blame for us not doing well that is because he spent all the resources and now the new guys don’t have any.
This means we now can’t compete with 'how we would have'. There seems to be a belief that it is now easy to win games because Gary White has won often. This clearly isn’t the case is it, if it was easy to win games then Taiwan should have been doing that long before Gary White showed up in Taipei but they weren’t winning.....they were losing and losing often. So easy, it is not.
Hong Kong and Gary White are a great match
Hong Kong and Gary White are a perfect match, Hong Kong has a better league system set up. Hong Kong like Taiwan came within one game of qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup, but unlike Taiwan, it feels like Hong Kong are pushing much harder to qualify for a tournament.
With Taiwan, this felt like there once and only chance, if Taiwan ever gets to being that close again it will be a miracle, but Hong Kong often just fall short. If Gary White joins Hong Kong I could see Hong Kong qualifying for the EAFF final round in South Korea where they would play China, South Korea and Japan.
Teams and officials in Hong Kong are professional and understand how football works further than people in Taiwan, and Gary White won’t have to constantly basic football situations to them. Yes, when he takes a new management role he likes to look around the world at professional football leagues to find any players who are eligible to represent the country, but there is nothing wrong with that why wouldn’t you be doing that?
There is no doubt he is going to find more players around the world who have connections to Hong Kong that he could for Guam or Taiwan because Hong Kong is a much more diverse place. To wrap it all up, this appointment will be excellent for Hong Kong but it will be like returning Taiwan back to a football apocalypse.