Philip Billing is once more in the news after fresh comments he gave during an interview with a Danish newspaper surfaced yet again. It’s genuinely baffling that players continue to give interviews in their home countries with seemingly no idea that their comments will filter back to their club and the supporters.
On the off chance that you’re reading this Phil; STOP talking utter b*llocks to newspapers in Denmark and then being surprised when it gets reported in England. For a player with such a good footballing brain, it appears that common sense has completely alluded him.
In case you missed Billing’s comments to the Danish press here are the salient points, courtesy of a fancy little thing called Google Translate;
On Jan Siewert
“He's special. Real German mentality, a little strange. He came in as if he had won the Premier League five times, a little arrogant, and I think most people lost respect for him after a week's time. People could see there was something wrong. He 'tried too hard'.”
On Jan Siewert’s public criticism of the team
“He came out after the games and blamed the players for losing matches. Which of course is normal, but normal coaches would come out and try to protect their own players.
“He did not really do that, and he continued to do so for a small period, so that one could sense that everyone did not really support him.”
On his future
“I've talked to the club and we reasonably agree that it is what it is. I'm still Huddersfield player, so I can't stand and say I'm done - I've done that once, and it didn't go well afterwards.
“You never know what's going to happen. It can go so fast and a bid can come in tomorrow.
“I don't get into it, but I know my agents have been talking to other clubs. I let them control so I can concentrate on the training.”
There’s a lot of take home points from that interview beyond the initial anger at Billing’s lack of accountability and downright arrogance. The first take home for me is that Jan Siewert’s race is already run…
Billing mentions the fact that other players were less than impressed with Siewert’s management style and that resonates with comments that have come out of the club in recent months.
A couple of months ago Christopher Schindler reportedly said, “all he does is shout at us” when talking about Siewert’s regime. The two remaining players from the Danish contingent have seemingly fallen out with their manager as well showing that not all is well within the camp.
IF it transpires that it is just one or two rumblings of discontent then perhaps there is not too much to worry about. But Philip Billing was nominated as players’ player of the year at the end of season awards ceremony.
This was at a time when Billing was exiled from the squad for his initial comments to the Danish press and his ‘come and get me’ plea to any and every club in Europe. It seems to me that the nominations for Billing on that evening spoke of a greater discontent in the dressing room.
Perhaps the players voted for the sanguine Dane for a laugh, or perhaps more sinisterly they voted for him as a direct affront to Jan Siewert. Nailing their colours to the mast so to speak. If that is the case it suggests that Siewert has already lost the dressing room, and unless he manages to ship out a sizeable amount of dissenting voices, he is going to struggle next season.
The second point of contention for me was Billing’s consternation at receiving criticism both privately and publicly. That confirmed a belief that I’ve had for some time, which is that the David Wagner regime had lost the run of itself in the final few months.
When Rajiv Van La Parra was dismissed at the Madejski Stadium in the early days of Wagner’s first full season in charge, the German coach refused to criticise the referee. In fact he made a habit of never really criticising officials, no matter how badly a decision had affected his team.
In the latter months of his time at Town that appeared to have changed. In the face of mounting incorrect calls from officials Wagner began to lose his cool with referees. Billing’s inability to receive criticism suggest to me that David Wagner and his team were focusing more on outside injustices than performances on the pitch.
Just a few months prior to Siewert’s bust-up with Billing the Dane took a complete air shot at Craven Cottage which culminated in Fulham scoring on the break to seal a 1-0 win against Town. You would like to think that the manager at the time would have had a lot to say about that inexplicable balls up, which would perhaps have stood Billing in good stead to take criticism in the future.
If Billing's comments are to be believed, he and other players seem to have got off pretty lightly on the back of poor performances in the last few months under Wagner.
It seems like that was the case and the culmination of this lack of culpability in the dressing room has been the collective downing of tools by players who have been described by Dean Hoyle as ‘disgraces’.
Phil Billing certainly falls into that category, and it pains me to write that as I have been one of his most vociferous supporters in the past few years. Billing certainly has potential as a footballer but unfortunately, his attitude stinks and he appears devoid of commitment, loyalty or personal accountability.
A quick trawl through his Twitter page led me to a list of his recent ‘likes’, one of which was “Jealousy is a serious disease.” It’s clear that Phil Billing thinks an awful lot of himself and again, on the off chance that you are reading Phil remember this, “being an arrogant arsehole is a serious disease”.