Will he stay or will he go now – Gary White’s Hong Kong flirting could be over

Gary White will become Hong Kong Manager next week

Gary White’s time in Taiwan looks to be coming to an end, which is likely to be a big disaster for the Taiwanese team and their fans. According to a Taipei Times article last month, the CTFA had failed to negotiate a new contract with White due to their internal fighting. 

All looked rosy in the garden due to White going to work at the Asian Games with the squad, and also being in charge for last night’s friendly win against Malaysia. After that win, things were looking up for the EAFF Championship but with this news, I wouldn’t surprised if Taiwan took a pounding and not even get close to claiming top spot and a place in the final against East Asia’s top-ranked teams.
White’s first assignment with Hong Kong will be to come back to Taiwan – in the away dugout

Ironically, if the news is true then White’s first task as Hong Kong manager will be to come back to Taiwan to try and win Hong Kong a place in the final stage of the EAFF Championships. There is unlikely to be any ill will towards White from Taiwan’s fans. 

The small few who follow football and the Taiwan team passionately will know that the CTFA have been more concerned with their bickering than dealing with footballing issues. For example, no preparation for the Asian Games was done because of the infighting and everything was booked last minute. 

A lot of other people only seem to have a fleeting or passing interest at this moment in time, and for those people I don’t think who the manager is matters much to them, they just enjoying going to watch it when there’s a game on, or when they can but don’t follow it madly, or aren’t a ‘football geek’ as the Mrs. calls me. 

What odds on Hong Kong topping the EAFF group in Taiwan? 

With only one spot available to get through to the last round in South Korea, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Gary White could come here with his Hong Kong side and win the group in Taiwan to get Hong Kong to the last round of the competition. That would be the icing on the cake of the shit show from the CTFA in battling each other, and releasing fake articles to the news about White fabricating results when he was Guam manager. It is not possible to keep a good manager when you allow this kind of rubbish to leak out of the football association. 

And who can really blame him for jumping ship to Hong Kong, it’s more of a footballing country, more international, has a better-structured league, has higher quality players, has a bigger playing pool to choose from. The reality is even if the CTFA weren’t at each other’s throats desperate for power, Hong Kong would still be a very attractive proposition. 

The reality of the situation is that Taiwan’s league is one of the weakest in Asia, the footballing authorities moan about having to support the team so they can play more competitive matches. They moan that money needs to be spent to develop players, facilities are lacking throughout the island, and access to facilities that are already in Taiwan is a shambles. Sports facilities often stand idly unless you’re willing to pay for VIP member status or some other bollocks.

Hong Kong could have the same issues, but the city is more cosmopolitan, the league is better – meaning he has more players to choose from and lots of English speakers. 

What now for Taiwan - Give the job to Louis

So I have been thinking today after seeing the news – what now for Taiwan? And I thought why not just give the job to Gary White’s assistant Louis Lancaster if he wants to have a dabble at managing. Look at this way, he has been part of a very successful management team during his time in Taiwan, and if anyone is capable of carrying on the way things are going now, it has to be the assistant. 

Obviously, not all assistant managers are cut out to be a manager, but if he did want to give it a crack I think it would work well. He could carry on Gary White’s SOUL thing for example that all the players have bought into. I don’t remember off the top of my head what the SOUL is but each letter stands for some kind of inspirational word that the players need to think about when they’re with the squad. It’s like the team building stuff everyone hates when your bosses at work insist you have to do with smelly Dave who sits the desk in front of you, but footballers seem to buy into this kind of team bonding a lot more than normal Joe Bloggs does. I suppose the difference is they’re a sports team and not sitting in an office thinking of the clock hitting 6:30 every day. 

If it was me, I would be going to Louis and Gary White’s support staff, offer Louis the manager job, offer whichever support staff he wants the Assistant manager position and this would ensure you have at least tried to keep things plodding on the same course. Not a guaranteed success but the best stab of a guarantee you could ask for. 

Please don’t let it be the fella from the Asian Games

Now, unfortunately, we have to talk about the negative side too. If the fella from the Asian Games is the one who gets the chance to take over, then the CTFA is in for a rude awakening if they think this winning thing is easy and can be done on the cheap. Taiwan is now winning games because they have spent some decent wedge on getting a manager who clearly knows his onions. Pay for a good manager then you get good results, this isn’t just in football but it’s in all aspects of working life. 

However, if you’ve been in Taiwan for a long time then you start to realise that Taiwanese bosses are unlikely to be happy about paying a decent wedge on a good manager. The mentality seems to let pay as little as possible, take on whoever is willing to do the job on much less pay than the going rate, someone who is willing to work under unreasonable working conditions and then hopes we strike gold and find a fella who can do it. 

This fella who was in charge at the Asian Games though, if he does get the job then Taiwan is doomed again to failure, and to lose more than they win. The plummet down the rankings would start in earnest. Tactically he was awful, he had no ideas on how to change the plan mid-game, didn’t make subs until the game was practically over, didn’t seem to offer any kind of motivation from the touchline – he just stood there arms crossed, with a perplexed look; clearly thinking how did I end up here? 

If the Asian Games guy gets the gig, then Taiwan will be hopeless and resort to putting every player on the edge of their box, playing to not lose instead of playing to win, and lumping it to the one forward they have. Not a targeted lump that he can chase or anything either, nope and aimless punt into no man’s land to be gobbled up by a giant centre-half. 

Where Taiwan are concerned, they can’t keep a good thing going 

In regards to Taiwan, employing Gary White was a good thing, improving was a good thing, going up the rankings was a good thing, playing more competitive games was a good thing, winning more games was a good thing and so on and so forth. Football has been positive here now for a while, especially since Gary White took over. 

Unfortunately, when things are going well in Taiwan everyone seems to want a piece of the pie. People in powerful positions start to jump on the bandwagon to influence their own positions and claim how much good they’ve done for this, or for that. I like to call these kinds of people leech, when things are going badly you won’t see them anywhere, they don’t want to be involved but once things take an upturn in fortune you see them coming from everywhere. They want to get involved and milk the credit for their own personal gain. Taiwan will never do well at any kind of sport when these kinds of awful lecherous people infest every sporting association throughout the country. For whatever the reason is, be it skimming or something similar they don’t have sport, or professional athlete’s development at the centre of their interests. For Taiwan to improve in football this infestation needs to be dealt with and that is very difficult.

Taiwan now faces some difficult decisions how they want their future to go, will they take the cheap option or will they try and keep the good work going. Our guess is they’ll go for the Billy Bargains route. 

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