If John Plumtree does not come back with at least 2, preferably 3 victories on the road and end in the top 8 of the Super 14 log, he must get the boot.
That ladies and gentlemen is the bottom line in professional sport.
Forget sentiment, forget emotions, history, tradition or whatever we as supporters love to bring up to defend our teams. The reality is rugby is a professional sport and is measured through results achieved.
We can (and do) analyse teams to the smallest detail, raising (very valid) points on possible reasons why teams, or our teams, are not performing to their potential, or the way I look at it, performing to expectations.
You see ‘expecting’ specific results is what it is all about – potential is just a gob-wolly term that more describes our emotion or emotional attachment to a team than realistic expectation.
And expecting something is measured against specifics, or constants in business (of which rugby is one).
For example, if an organisation has X, Y and Z you expect a return on result or investment of A, B and C. Organisations however, as with rugby, differs, so even in the same industry (rugby) some unions might only have X and Z, so if they achieve A, B and C it is a massive bonus and they performed ‘above’ expectation.
But there is, or should be a definite break-even point, which will then serve as an indication whether the organisation, or union are delivering as expected, delivering above expectations, or delivering below expectations.
A practical example would be to compare the organisations or unions, Sharks and Cheetahs.
Compare the budgets, compare the resources, compare the markets, etc., etc. Pretty much what is done in business, and then judge results based on this.
A union like the Sharks for instance, with a budget to buy the best to not only manage (coaches and administrators) the organisation, but also deliver a product (players), is realistically expected to deliver the best.
Of course we need to judge and analyse industries in accordance to the environments they operate in, and in this case, the industry is sport.
Now sport is unpredictable to some extent, but not completely. In any organisation, including rugby there is a clear indication or measurable standard or scale which reads – if you buy the best, you expect the best.
Players and coaches can be measured on their ability, it is therefore not unrealistic to expect the best in their trade, to operate better than the average Joe’s out there from which they distanced themselves thanks to how they performed in their trades historically and their achievements.
So quite simply, if Plumtree is not able, for WHATEVER reason, to have the best in the business operate to the best of their ability – he does not belong there.
With the budget the Sharks have, it is not unrealistic for the board and investors of the union to expect specific results. How else can Plumtree, or Straeuli realistically expect to walk into the board meeting at the end of the Super 14 campaign to table budget projections to the board and investors for the coming season and expect to get it?
In professional sport you either deliver on expectation, or you get shown the door.