Football management: why bother?

by admin

Monday, December 13th, 2010

In the past week the Premier League has witnessed two managerial sackings. Chris Hughton’s widely publicised and criticised dismissal was quickly followed by the departure of Sam Allardyce this Monday.

Both were sacked with brutal public statements.

Blackburn Rovers’ official website went with the line ‘We have taken this decision as part of our wider plans and ambitions for the club’; while Newcastle United preferred a critical approach: ‘Regrettably the board now feels that an individual with more managerial experience is needed to take the club forward.’

One must ask in these situations: why bother being a Premier League manager at all?

The sweeping simplicity of both club statements says it all. There is a distinct lack of loyalty towards managers in the game. The average term served by a manager in the top four tiers of the Football League was estimated at 1.4 years last May.

Expectations are far too high. In a BBC 5Live interview in the summer, now Blackburn owner Dr. Venkateshwara Rao confirmed that ‘Big Sam’ – as he called him – would remain in charge of the club and have the full backing of the new owners.

Where have we not heard that one before?

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s promotion back to the top flight was nothing more than outstanding. Maintaining a firm grip on Championship top spot, Hughton and his squad succeeded in what Leeds, Charlton, Middlesbrough, Leicester and Norwich have all failed to do following Premier League relegation.

Both managers have achieved more than respectable league positions so far this season, and yet the expectations of the respective club owners means their work is utterly futile.

All Hughton’s hard work has been ultimately for nothing bar a bit if respect from the football world and a thank you pay packet. Sixteen top-flight games is hardly a reward for steering round what could have been a disastrous few years for Newcastle.

New Magpies manager Alan Pardue sealed a five-year contract on the back of Hughton’s departure; the majority of pundits and commentators positive he won’t see them out.

One struggles to see the incentive of being a football club manager. Bar maybe the top six teams in the Premier League, what have the others got to look forward to apart from hopping around middling teams: sometimes in the Championship, sometimes in the Premier League, waiting to be fired?

Avram Grant got a crack at Chelsea, but was soon out the door even though he was a post-width away from winning the UEFA Champions League. Leeds shafted David O’Leary on the eve of their meltdown; and let’s face it, Sven did relatively well with England in retrospect.

Managing a mid-table Premier League team effectively means maintaining a steady platform and one day in the distant future hoping for a Europa League place. Owning a mid-table Premier League team apparently means you will break the top four if you spend money. If you don’t, well just get rid of the manager.

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  • porciestreet

    A very good point was made earlier last week by Steve Bruce at 5under1and when he spoke about not being able to find anyone willing to go into management following their footballing carear.
    Isn,t it about time the FA did something whith the Fit and Proper Person,s thing when these moneybags foreigners ride rough shod over our game which , lets face it , has been around for a couple of centuries.
    Our game is being slowly undermined and eroded from within and it,s got to be stopped. Happygeordieatthemoment.

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