Is it possible to feel sorry for people who are employed in a dream job and paid vast sums of money for doing so? Normally I’d say no, and then slap you for asking, but occasionally there is the opportunity to feel sorry for even the most privileged of people. Take football managers for example. Of course they are under pressure, of course they have a duty towards their employers and the fans, and of course their every move is going to be scrutinised by the media. However have we reached the stage where we are simply over-zealous, and too ready to jump the gun in our criticisms of the top managers?
I rarely, if ever, agree with Gary Neville on any subject whether it be football or his stupid little moustache that he sometimes grows but I recently read something that he wrote, yes he writes, for the Mail in which he pointed out how much pressure the press had put on Mancini after he lost the Charity Shield, and then after that Arsene Wenger was supposedly heading for the chop and Arsenal were going to be relegated, then Man Utd lost 1-6 at home to their local rivals and suddenly Ferguson had lost it, and then we were flooded with stories about how Andre Villas-Boas was heading the same way as Scolari.
We’re not even half way through the season and already fans from a variety of teams have had to put up with ignorant, over-eager and often insulting articles written about their respective managers. Is it because we have genuinely lost any patience that we once had for managers, is it that there is so little news that we have to regurgitate stories about how so and so has lost it and is about to be sacked or is it because some writers genuinely believe that a manager is brilliant one month but a little while later he deserves to be sacked? Are we really that fickle that we could change our mind once, maybe even twice in the course of just a few months?
What makes the situation even more farcical is how much criticism the top managers come under for their performances even though there are teams that are being managed to a much worse standard who are largely being ignored until that manager gets the sack.
All managers know that being criticised is part of the job, that they are paid so well because their job is so difficult and competitive but it almost seems that the press are cutting off their nose to spite their face. These constantly repeated stories about how certain managers are not good enough are born largely out of a lack of originality an imagination rather than actual consistent below par performances. Why would the press call for the heads of Wenger or Villas-Boas when their teams are so entertaining to watch and therefore are so good to write about?
Moreover, for our newspapers to be such harsh critics and then avid supporters of the same manager’s abilities in the space of half a season devalues their very opinion. For fans to erode their authoritative voice by constantly announcing different outlandish statements is one thing, but for professional journalists to do it too is just ridiculous. The fact is that out league is more competitive than ever. Any team really can beat any other. That doesn’t make that manager worthy of being sacked, nor does a poor run of form. These things happen in football and I would far rather read a rational and objective analysis of sporting phenomena than I would an opportunistic trashy piece that merely jumps on the bandwagon of insults in an attempt to smear the reputation of every big manager that loses a couple of games. Aren’t we better than that? Aren’t the press?
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