DAVID PYE COLUMN: Fergie and Cook are rare examples of patience paying dividends in sport

Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , sports writer

PATIENCE is a virtue but rarely one that is applied in sporting circles – just ask ex-Huddersfield boss Mark Robins.

As each year goes by it seems the pressure to get results intensifies, particularly in football with all the money involved at the higher levels.

But if history tells us one thing, patience can often pay off.

The best example came down the road at Manchester United when the faith the board of directors put in Sir Alex Ferguson after four barren years before the FA Cup win in 1990 went on to pay dividends big style.

Even then, there was outside pressure and fan discontent and it is a commonly-held view that the aforementioned Robins, in his playing days as a United youngster, saved Ferguson from the axe with a winning goal at Nottingham Forest in the third round of that cup run.

More recently, patience has paid off with the England cricket team and captain Alastair Cook.

An undoubted talent as a player, Cook hit a run of poor personal form at the worst possible time when he was trying to mastermind a winning Ashes campaign Down Under.

He remained stuck in something of a rut post-Australia and after a series defeat by Sri Lanka and crushing defeat at Lord’s against India this summer, it appeared the writing might be on the wall for the Essex opener.

Controversy over Kevin Pietersen’s omission from the squad just added fuel to the fire for those former players-turned-pundits who felt Cook’s time was up.

An emotional post-match speech from the skipper illustrated his determination to ride out the storm and keep his belief, and how rosy things are for him just a few weeks on.

Several good scores and two huge Test wins have seen the doubters cast aside – for now at least.

In both instances, credit has to go to the powers-that-be for keeping their nerve when the pressure mounted – but not everyone follows suit.

It can work the other way, of course, as David Moyes found out to his cost less than 12 months into a six-year managerial contract at Old Trafford last season.

Sometimes the pressure becomes too much and the result is inevitable.

The hope is that when the call to the chairman’s or chief executive’s office comes, any parting of the ways is done for the right reasons and not just a knee-jerk response to a poor start to a season.

Sadly, I fear, we will struggle to make it to the end of August without more following Robins to the dole queue.

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