FFC columnist Josh Learner reflects on the how the role of a football manager has undoubtedly been affected by the globalisation of the modern game.
Something is happening to certain Premier League managers at present. Authority and respect is something fundamental to a manager's credentials inside a club, as well as out. So why do these attributes, which have for so long been embedded in the DNA of a football manager's criterion, seem to be losing all venom and force?
In a week in which Avram Grant got snubbed by his own players, is it fair to say that the assault on the Premier League by foreign millionaires and rich chairmen have a part to play in all of this? It's open for debate.
Brian Clough once said: "If I had an argument with a player we would sit down for twenty minutes, talk about it and then decide I was right!" Although an extreme example, this is how the real manager was once perceived in British football, a strong man, with a heart of steel, grit, trust, respect and essentially; authority. Are these characteristics seeping away from modern day Premier League managers in a league of foreign Chairmen and boards so dependant on success? With managers becoming more disposable than Tesco bags, where does the modern day manager stand?
Chelsea fans must have a worrying sense of stability at the moment regardless of whether they're back in the title race or not. Mr Abramovich arrived at Chelsea as a saviour, someone sent from above to whisk them away into the prosperous horizon of success. And that he largely did with Mourinho. Two league titles and a League cup, happy days! However, there always seemed to be slight scepticism amongst the neutrals, and I'm sure some Chelsea fans, over the audacity of this money-infested transformation. Is Abramovich's, effecting internal affairs at Chelsea in areas so fundamental to what a football manager should be?
With the events of this week it would be easy to agree. Although Avram Grant insists there is no problem in the relationship with his players, few would be fooled not to think otherwise. Grant's planned team meeting on Tuesday of last week was very much an embarrassment for him as much as it was for Chelsea Football Club. The players were holding their own team meeting over Grants handling of the League Cup Final, which in itself is destructive enough for a manager's authority, but to be asked to leave from the team meeting and duly doing so is simply shameful and demoralising.
Abramovich seems to be orchestrating proceedings inside Chelsea at his own leisure with no regard to the manager. He spent three days at the training ground leading up to the final and a considerable amount of time afterwards in the dressing room. This doesn't seem to rub off well on Grant. Surely a chairman should leave the manager to his own devices of strategy in training and not interfere. Was this why Mourinho left?
What's happened to the real manager in football? Look at Benitez at Liverpool whose position was totally undermined by the American owners Hicks & Gillet with the Jurgen Klinsman meeting made public so casually by the pair.
The presence of foreign billionaires especially at Chelsea seems to be shattering a manager's authority through, essentially, sheer financial power. I'm not saying this is the case everywhere – look at Aston Villa. But internal affairs at Chelsea seem worrying in an age of crazy player salaries, TV money and egos. The real manager is becoming alarmingly less stable.
Is this a just a phase in the Premier League, or an indicator of things to come?