When in football it is announced that a certain boss will end a certain team at the end of the season, the reflexes in this part of the world are referring to Alex Ferguson's example back 2001-2002.
In the evening of that season, Ferguson had declared that it would be his last. By January, with United enjoying a purple patch, he had changed, but as the league table in May would show, United had paid the cost of being in pickup mode for most of the season. For the first time in 11 years they ended up outside the two best, and lost six of their 15 matches.
By that time John Giles identified the cross in United's chance: Players generally flourished best when they felt a sense of permanence or at least out to impress the man who could give it; With Ferguson going, safety was gone, replaced by a slackness.
Ferguson himself would later subscribe to Giles Theory, which almost all the points had at that time and admitted that players in the first half had "put their tools away".
Looking back at that, he considered his early message as "my biggest mistake", "an absolute disaster".
But if there is a case to do in order to plan ahead of a long-term boss, then the best example is again the same Alex Ferguson.
Uniteds after 2013-travails has been far more calamitous than the "absolute disaster" that was 2001-2002. The season after Ferguson decided to continue, United was again league champion. Five years ago, his possible departure and it seems that United will be at least as long before they win another Premiership.
In 2001, the uncertainty caused by his likely departure to only a temporary satisfaction and slackness led to it. Since 2013, the uncertainty triggered by a hasty succession plan and vision has led to an apparently indecent instability.
That is why Philip Brownes last commentary on what an Irish coaching setting might look like post-Joe Schmidt should be welcomed.
Schmidt himself has said that he will inform his employers before Christmas about their intentions and aspirations after Japan.
If he wants to remain as an Irish coach, it would be Brownes and every Irish person's obvious preference, but if he declares he wants to continue from the Irish project and seek opportunities elsewhere, including a possible return to his native country and coach it national team, then good.
Not good, but good, and definitely not the "absolute disaster" as the possibility and then the reality of a Ferguson's departure turned out to be.
Secondly, if Schmidt and IRFU would let it be known on this side of the World Cup that he will not stay after Japan, there is no danger that Giles Theory is applicable to Irish players. 2019 is not just a season for them, the road 2001-2002 may have been in United, or until 2016-2017, Connacht was after both Murrayfield and Pat Lamb's declaration that he was on his way to Bristol.
Japan is the culmination, the Zenite, a four-year bike, if not a whole career. The last thing you do is to relax with the sight in sight. The focus is Olympic.
Interviewer Mike Ross last week, it was striking in our chat and in his latest book how worried he was on the threshold of both quarterly finals in 2011 and 2015.
Here was a man who had won two Heineken Cups and two Six Nations Nations Championships. who had endure and survived the lead to big games, such as Northampton in Cardiff 2011 or France in Paris 2014. But against Wales in Wellington 2011 or Argentina in Cardiff 2015, it was much, much bigger for him. Why?
Every Irish player who wants to enter this planet or play in the quarterfinal in October will think of Rosen's lines: this opportunity never again comes. Do not know with a Joe Schmidt. If anything, Schmidt's transitory departure would further focus and raise attention and energy levels over the next 12 months with Ireland, not distracting or reducing them.
More importantly, Browne commented on the options available to Ireland in a post-Schmidt world and that the IRFU has a vision and plan for such a scenario. Those – and the rest of us – can see the candidates who can offer a balance between continuity and freshness, and equally the perfect blend of internal and external experience.
Andy Farrell and Stuart Lancaster worked with England during the former World Cup and, like Graham Henry before those with both Wales and Kiwis, have been wiser for their mistakes. They have worked and succeeded in the Irish arrangement, either with the national team or its and Europe's leading club team.
As Browne says, one of them would be "more than capable of intensifying" and being national coach John Allen to Schmidt's Donal Grady or a Steve Hansen to Schmidt's Graham-Thierry Henry.
Browne also mentioned others: Simon Easterby, Mark McCall, Conor O & # 39; Shea.
"We are not short," he says.
And there were others he did not call. Leo Cullen can, if necessary, get up, just as he did when Leinster needed him; Lancaster and himself are a proven double act at this time. When Ronan O & Gara was invited to the Irish camp before the 2017 summer tournament to Japan and the United States, it was to give him a taste of Schmidt's way and the national attitude, not just Schmidt or IRFU's way of contributing to one of the most formidable individual CPDs in world rugby and coaching.
It is more credible to keep in mind that both Cullen continue as Leinster coach and O & Gara as the next Munster head coach than any of them join the 2023 World Cup national team. Leinster without Lancaster would need Cullen and his knowledge of the club's DNA more in such a circumstance, while O & Gara would represent and improve Munster's Post-Van Grain – but at least they are on the radar and real options with Ireland for 2027 or later.
It has been pointed out that the All Blacks job would be something of a poisoned chalice for Schmidt, that the Kiwis who won another Webb Ellis with him at the helm could hardly match he won one or two – with Ireland.
However, it is a rather reductive way of looking at it, very results-oriented, the opposite of his beloved "process". Appointing as a head coach in his national team would be something he would look like a glory and winning with them, a challenge.
You must be a really good coach who does a really good coaching job to make the best even better, because if they do not get better, they will probably not win. It reminds us of this column, Pat O & # 39; Shea interviewed shortly after he succeeded Jack O'Connor as Kerry coach in the autumn of 2006.
Everywhere he went and kept careful warnings about poisoned limes, but O & # 39; Shea only saw the opportunity. challenge, not hot. Schmidt has a similar mindset, albeit not a similar situation.
Browne also reminded us, it's not just about rugby. "It's about family."
After 10 years of Irish rugby and a significantly longer time away from home, he finds that it is now time to return to his native beaches.
Irrespective of whether it is after Japan or France, Ireland will be coached by someone other than Schmidt and Browne and David Nucifora is aware of this and, thankfully, for Irish rugby, they have a plan. As Browne said last month: "We can not depend on an individual."
The system must have processes and structures that can survive a person's departure within it.
Schmidt himself has helped to set up such structures. He has not been angry with assuming some of the All Blacks principles reflected in James Kerr's legacy. His Irish record has taken Sweep the Shed's mantra and mindset, with even not even hotel keys short of his review. His players also talk about leaving the jersey in a better place, another motto of the All Blacks. All Blacks also talk about planting trees that you will never see. Being a good ancestor. Leave a legacy.
Schmidt does not just want to talk such things, but embodies them themselves. For Ireland to succeed, he would be the ultimate legacy and compliment for his ministry in his eyes.
Ireland will not leave this at the chance of United, where Sven Goran Eriksson was in 2001, and a Guardiola was not identified or secured in 2013, and instead David Moyes tore so many reliable and successful processes, a bike and a problems that his successor has repeated and compounded.
Browne and Nucifora will not crawl for the right man or the right fit. They have planned for it. Or as Browne comments have indicated, they are already planning for it. And plant trees. Just like Schmidt would like it.