Are the chairmen of football clubs punching above their weight? Do they expect too much from their managers and players? And are their aims truly realistic?
In my opinion; yes, yes and no. In recent months there has been a lot of talk about whether chairmen seem to want too much from their clubs, that their heads are up in the clouds when it comes to the quality of football they expect.
The prime example in this argument is Chelsea’s Russian business tycoon Roman Abramovich, who this season has enhanced his reputation for making the Chelsea Manager’s job a poison chalice. The decision to get rid of Roberto Di Matteo, who guided the club to their first Champions League trophy, just eight months into his role as manager, was met by incredible disapproval by a large percentage of Chelsea fans and also by many football fans in general.
Di Matteo, to most minds, had done a very impressive job and despite Chelsea’s slump of form at the time and there was no disputing he really had not done enough wrong to deserve being dismissed from his position.
This trend has developed into a league-wide craze, this season more than ever. Blackburn’s owners the Venky’s have gone through five managers this season after the sacking of Michael Appleton this week. Nottingham Forest haven’t fared much better and are on their fourth manager of the season.
So it has to be asked do these chairmen, who in my opinion are relatively clueless about what it takes to be a manager, expect too much from their coaches? The Venky’s sacked Steve Kean with Blackburn third in the Championship, four managers later they lie 18th, just four points clear of the relegation zone. So where did the Venky’s expect to be? Why was third not good enough for them? Kean may not have done well in the Premier League but his Championship record was solid.
At the other end the spectrum Southampton and Reading have both been criticised for their sackings of Nigel Adkins and Brian McDermott respectively. Both teams were, and still are, battling against relegation but what did their chairmen expect? These teams were never going to be challenging for Europe, a relegation battle was always going to be on the cards, so why get rid of two brilliant managers when they are just doing what was, in most people’s eyes, expected of them and their clubs.
There are, however, some chairmen who must be praised for sticking by their managers. Dave Whelan has kept hold of Roberto Martinez despite the fact that Wigan struggle at the bottom of the table, season after season. Likewise Bill Kenwright has had David Moyes at the helm for ten years even though they have won little in the way of silverware or European football.
I believe that chairmen really need to give their managers more of a chance, you hired them let them try to do their jobs. One season minimum should be a staple for all managers.