Two new Wales’ managers face uphill battle for different reasons

Posted on September 14, 2010


By Luke James

Never mind Brian Flynn’s appointment this week, an equally intriguing story is unfolding in the appointment of a new manager for Wales women’s team.

In unplanned and unforeseen circumstances the Football Association of Wales has been tasked with appointing two new national team managers in the same month.

Brian Flynn has stepped into John Toshack’s role as the men’s national team manager, for the time being. Flynn’s job is to get Wales two results against Bulgaria at home followed three days later by Switzerland away.

Then there’s Jarmo Matikainen, he will arrive in Wales in a week’s time to take the reins of the whole women’s national set up, from the senior side all the way down to the under-17’s team.

New Wales' women's manager steps into a tough job

Both men have been appointed to difficult jobs at the same time, but that’s where the similarities end, both have the challenge of personal missions but of a different kind.

Flynn, the youth guru heralded by all for his age grade achievements, follows many of the players he has nurtured into the struggling senior side. Whilst the public are fully behind Flynn, if he wants to turn his temporary employment as Wales boss into his dream full time job then he must get two big results.

Matikainen on the other hand is a relatively unknown, plucked by the FA of Wales from the Finnish women’s set up. Unlike Flynn, who can’t do any worse than his predecessor, Matikainen takes over a Wales women’s team fresh from a 15-0 win over Azerbaijan and an under-19’s side who destroyed Georgia 21-0 on the weekend.

Terry Boyle leaves the new manager a difficult legacy to live up to

Former Welsh international Terry Boyle is the man who has masterminded this unparalleled success for Wales in the women’s game, although evidently that run of results came too late for Boyle to be given the top job.

Matikainen was already in place when Boyle, an FAW coach, guided the teams in his temporary care to some great results. Who knows whether Boyle is unhappy at the prospect of handing the teams he was developing over to the Finn? Either way Boyle must now switch his attention to bringing Wales semi-pro team glory tonight in a friendly against England.

But one thing is for sure, the new coach must be cursing Boyle’s name as he tries to step into a new job and live up to the temporary manager’s legacy of record wins.

If Wales’ women’s team don’t continue the form they showed under Boyle the FAW could end up with egg on their face over at least one of their appointments.

The one thing Matikainen does have on Flynn is that, unfortunately, relatively few people care about women’s football in Wales and it is sparsely covered by the media. So whether or not the Finn gets off to a flying start he can be sure he won’t feel anywhere near the pressure that will be on Flynn next month.