October 12, 2015

Who’d be a manager? – Monday 12th October by @_MJMN

Who’d be a manager?

With Rodgers recent dismissal from Liverpool, Eddie Howe moves up to become the second longest serving manger in the Premier League, behind Arsene Wenger by a mere 16 years. With talk already of Steve McClaren potentially being replaced at Newcastle, and the ‘Special One’ joining Rodgers in the unemployment line it makes you wonder if being a Football manager is the most unstable job in sport.

Sam Allardyce is set to become Sunderland’s 10th manager in as many years, their north east compatriots Newcastle are also on their 9th manager in 10 years. With 47 managerial dismissals in the English leagues in the 14/15 season, the average tenancy of a manager in England has dropped to 1.23 years. For a game which is inherently a 50/50 game where luck is equal to skill in determining the result of a game (Anderson & Sally, 2013, p. 37) having under a year and a half to find success is ludicrous.

Most managers come into the job to claw their team from the depths of the league to avoid relegation. Due to the amount of money in the English top league relegation is avoided like the plague, it is believed that a relegated teams first season in the Championship will see a revenue cut of £60m. Clubs in the premier league receive £80m in TV rights and with the Premier league set to do a new deal which will see more than £3bn for overseas TV rights from 2016 to 2019, that £80m figure is set to rise. It is therefore easy to see why relegation is given plague like status. With all this money however it does make managers more expendable, Man United paid David Moyes a reported £5.2m in compensation when they replaced him with Louis Van Gaal. To me and you that’s probably a hell of a lot of money, but when United will have received £80m in TV rights £5.2m isn’t a massive problem.

Another problem that managers have to face is the inability to truly control their fate. With teams having huge monetary incentives to hire and fire managers at the drop of a hat to hopefully secure their premier league status, you’d like to have as much control as you can. However manager’s fates are often secured by the players themselves. At the end of the day it is players that win games and lose them. As I said earlier football is a 50/50 game, so you do your best to control the 50% control you have, this is where the players come in. Yes it is the manager’s job to pick the team, run training and make sure they are all on the right wave length, but it is still up to them to deliver and the manager has no control over this. Jose Mourinho is a great example of this, his Chelsea team currently sit 16th in the table with 8 points; the same total as West Brom and the premier league newcomers Bournemouth. Now if you look at the Chelsea team that started against Swansea at the start of this year’s campaign, and compare it to the side that started their title winning season at Burnley the only difference is that Willian starts instead of Schurrle who is now at Wolfsburg. So the only difference is the quality of performance. There are now seeds of doubt about Mourinho’s ability to manage Chelsea, purely due to the fact that his players aren’t performing as well as last season. If Chelsea were to sack the ‘Special One’ you’d have to apply some of the blame to his players, how is Mourinho to know that his starlet Eden Hazard would be a shadow of the player he was last year? That the reliable Ivanovic would be clumsy and all together not at ease?

All things considered being a Football manager is not the most stable profession, it is one that can be pure ecstasy one week and utter dejection the next. You could be manager of the month and sacked the next. When Arsene Wenger finally calls time on his Arsenal tenancy, I fear that we will not see the likes again. The way managers are hired and fired on a regular basis is unfortunately a sad reflection of society’s lack of patience. We want everything faster, stronger, better and we want it now. The period of patience and trust is coming to an end, immediate success is the requirement for anyone bold enough to take up the challenge, and is one that is being driven by money.

Who’d be a manager?


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Anderson, C. & Sally, D. (2013). The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Football is Wrong. Edition. Viking.

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