An apology to Diego Maradona - soccer, books and social media

Diego Maradona, World Cup, Argentina
Image: Daniel Garcia/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As the surviving teams make their way through to the semi-finals of the World Cup, football legend Maradona and his team will be on the 'plane back to Argentina. Just the day before, Rob Hughes of the New York Times, wrote a post on his World Cup blog titled - An Apology to Maradona, a Rollicking Genius.

The gist of Hughes' post is simple. He acknowledges that he and other critics of Maradona failed to understand his true spirit and genius, even though he is one of the most famous soccer players ever.

He writes - "We misjudged your appointment as coach. We believed that Julio Grondona, the 78-year-old president of Argentina’s soccer federation, had lost all sense of reason in asking you, a fading icon without a coaching badge, to pick up a broken national team and lead it through this World Cup. Well, so much for so-called expertise."

He goes on - "[your..] enthusiasm reminds us that soccer is a simple game. Your team has superior attacking skills, so let it play to its nature..... I don’t imagine you reading any books on how to be successful in your game. Having been on the streets of the villa miseria Fiorito, the slum you grew up in outside Buenos Aires, I can understand that books are hogwash to you."

This is a remarkable mea culpa and it got me thinking about how the genius Maradona, used only his inborn passion and skill for playing soccer, and had no need to peruse a manual of how to play even if he could find one. He then applied those same skills to coaching - against all odds and in the face of his critics.

Hughes again - "The further your team goes, the closer you get to stripping away the myth and mystique that team management is a science and that a manager can only succeed through years of study of the manual."

Think about all of this if you ever consider buying a book written by an "expert" on social media.

[More NORTH thoughts on social media here.]