Has the concept of managerial legacy gone to the dogs?

With Mark Hughes, Carlo Ancelotti and Gerard Houllier leaving their respective posts recently, I want to analyse where the managerial art has gone.

Firstly, I understand that there are circumstances that can’t be helped. Houllier was ill, his ticker couldn’t take it and despite having a record of re-building teams to some success (e.g the treble winning Liverpool side of 2000-01), there was no way that the board could get the assurances they needed.

He is clearly upset at not having the opportunity to oversee the development of a team with bags of potential, stating; ‘I am extremely disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to manage Aston Villa next season’.

He must feel robbed, deprived of an intriguing project that might have brought success to the ambitious club given more time.

Instead, his lasting legacy will be the signing of Darren Bent in January, leaving behind him a more than capable strike force.

His situation differs to Mark Hughes, who has jumped at the chance to further his career, clearly viewing Fulham as ‘stepping stone’.

Upon resigning, he claimed that he had left a ‘strong foundation from which they can go forward’, a foundation that will surely be wiped away and built on again by a new manager looking to develop and integrate his own management styles.

Having been introduced into management 7 years ago, Hughes has had predominately successful spells at Wales, Blackburn and Fulham.

At Manchester City, he was in charge of a club that would sign anyone and everyone to achieve success. He handled his egotistical squad well and produced some exciting football, but their final position wasn’t enough to convince the owners and the one project he might have been excited about was snatched away from him.

Despite demonstrating his abilities as a top flight manager, it is frustrating to witness his refusal to commit to a team who lack the funds of the big boys.

It is hard, but not impossible to build something that can challenge for a Champions League birth. Just look at what Harry Redknapp has achieved at Tottenham, taking over a side that was in the relegation zone and bereft of confidence and transforming them into top four contenders.

Sure he had access to more money perhaps than Hughes, but he also showed faith in players that were becoming a laughing stock. Gareth Bale is now one of the world’s premier players, as opposed to the guy that didn’t win a match of football for 24 games.

Players such as Bobby Zamora can become hugely effective if they have the backing of their manager, as proved under Roy Hodgson before unfortunately breaking his leg. I accept this a farfetched statement, but could he have been the next Gareth Bale?

Whether it is at the top or bottom of the Premier League, the appreciation of this perverse football hierarchy at some clubs is rife. Certain managers have this sickening reverence to the teams that have the most money, rather than focusing on their job.

There appears to be less respect of the managerial art by greedy chairmen looking to play a real life version of the PC game Football Manager.

All this has left me confronting the actuality that we may never see another manager like Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger or Bill Shankly, a sad indictment of the modern game.

Read more of Lewis Constable’s articles at This Is Futbol

 


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