Despite flying as high as third for the majority of the season, the inevitable ramifications of the no-tactics, no-training and no-fitness regime at the PAT Stadium have seen Port regress as low as fourth, in what has been called the “first crisis of the Jadet Era.”
All jokes aside, Port – and more specifically owner Madame Pang – are in a position where they must choose whether or not to stick with their current boss come next season. The 2019 campaign is likely to have high stakes for the Klongtoey side, as it is expected to be Pang’s last in charge of the club, and she will be in the hunt for some silverware to show for her vast investment.
Firstly, it is important to recognize what Jadet has managed to achieve. To string together a disparate group of newly acquired stars into a team that plays fluid, attacking football is no mean feat. He has lifted the club after Zico’s disastrous tenure with what appears to be a far more laid-back regime has taken the club very far, which deserves to be respected.
However, many people are of the (seemingly correct) belief that Jadet is holding Port back. The development of many bright young prospects has slowed, the side tends to lack a Plan B, and complacency has begun to settle in as many of the players have become undroppable at the behest of the owner.
However, the most troubling aspect of this Port regime seems to be the lack of improvement of individual players within the system. The side is run by players who are already at their peak, and have been signed as “finished articles” from their clubs at very high prices. Players such as Nurul, Boskovic, Suarez or Kim Sung-Hwan are excellent, but they were already excellent when they first stepped foot into Klongtoey.
None of these players have improved or developed new facets of their game under Jadet Even Kevin Deeromram, who should be improving rapidly as a 21-year-old, has not been helped to correct the defensive aspect of his game since arriving at the PAT Stadium. This strikes a stark contrast to some of the players who have been turning out for Buriram, Bangkok United and Muangthong – the three sides that currently sit above Port in the league.
Stagnating players lead to a stagnating team, and Jadet’s seemingly laissez-faire approach to man-management has finally caught up with the side.
However, calls for a change on the touchline should be met with caution.
The failed “Zico Experiment” continues to weigh of fans minds, and should serve as a reminder of how attempting to enforce stricter tactical constraints on this team can backfire. Any attempt to overhaul the team at the behest of an ambitious new manager would put the groundwork laid down this season to waste, and wouldn’t be possible due to the limited time remaining under the current ownership.
In short, the Klongtoey Lions are looking for a coach that can work within Port’s highly restrictive management system with a set of players that are unlikely to respond well to being pushed or transformed to meet the needs of a more developed system. When looking at these search criteria, only one name springs to mind – Jadet himself.
While his methods and management may not be ideal, his departure could risk upsetting the extremely precarious balance Port currently find themselves in. The question is not about whether or not change is needed, but more so about whether or not Port’s contrived hierarchical setup is capable of handling the change.