Should there be a transfer window for managers too?

Roberto di Matteo Chelsea Manager

It appears after the latest spate of Premier League sackings that changing the manager is seen as the magic solution to solve all problems within a Premier League club. So would extending the transfer window rules to only allow managerial changes in the summer or January help?

It certaintly not implausible when you assess the latest changes at Chelsea and QPR. Will Benitez do a better job than Di Matteo? Is Harry Redknapp able to save QPR from relegation? I am not convinced on either of those fronts.

If Di Matteo had been given till January, who knows he may have been able to shake off the November curse those managers have suffered at Stamford Bridge.  There is always talk of a honeymoon period when a new boss comes into the club and the players being revitalised, but with what is at stake in terms of pride and finance in the Premier League, it surely is a concern that this is not enough for them. The players have to take responsibility for their actions, and if they know that even if results are bad they had to wait till January for a manager change, maybe it would make some of them wake up and smell the coffee.

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There definitely is a trend to have a knee jerk reaction around the Christmas period with owners panicking that their side around 10 games into a season won’t be able to turn things around. Despite this it appears that owners should have a little more faith that their boss can deliver the goods.  It does not always work out well when the manager is sacked too. Last season Wolves went down with a whimper after sacking Mick McCarthy in the heat of the moment after a 5-1 defeat to West Brom.

There is a clamour for stability at football clubs, matched by the desperation to change when they see the grass is greener, but it can’t always be rosier, and if the ask appears too much to be expect from another manager it often is. Harry ‘Houdini’ let’s not forget was the same boss who sent Southampton down with Peter Crouch in the side, expecting him to keep a QPR side up already 4 points adrift of 19th place is a huge burden to carry. I am aware that fan pressure has a huge say too and nobody likes watching their side lose, but isn’t it time we gave our manager’s some protection.

If Mr Abramovich had to wait till January till he sacked Di Matteo maybe he would have seen all was not so bad, especially if they qualify for the knockout stages in Champions League.  The sacking of a manager as well can sometimes contribute to manager’s simply getting a job purely because the owner wants one. It is like a kid in a sweet shop mentality that the owner has to get the latest one in fashion, or just pay for a new one anyway through boredom. They have their few weeks in the headlines, with everyone desperate to know who they will pick. Then the long awaited appointment arrives and it is not always met with euphoria. Newcastle fans never wanted Joe Kinnear, nor did Charlton ever see Iain Dowie as the knight in shining armour to solve their problems, and the appointment of Paul Hart at any club filled the fans with any glee.

A transfer window would provide protection for both clubs and managers in that the owner has to have the foresight to make a long term plan. Seeing as the fit and proper person test for an Owner has regularly been seen as laughable, surely this would be a way of testing the owner’s capability to run a football club, rather than giving him full reign to make whatever petty decision he so chooses. After all football clubs may be a business, but they are more than that to the fans who wait every weekend to watch their teams play. When planning to go to games it is not uncommon for supporters to plan their travel months in advance to be able to afford to go, and they have to sometimes pick and choose their games wisely. So surely it isn’t too much to ask for the owner to be forced to plan in advance too.

The change of a manager surely has to be a natural progression and a correct fit. The reason why West Brom and Swansea have both continued to flourish despite losing Brendan Rodgers and Roy Hodgson in the summer respectively is because they were able to plot their moves wisely. In particular at West Bromwich Albion they employed a Sporting director in Dan Ashworth who had the foresight to see the greater picture, the brand of football and the type of player West Brom were looking to sign. He encouraged the owner’s that Steve Clarke was the right man for the job and it has paid dividends. Similarly, Huw Jenkins had time to see that Laudrup also plays football with a fluidity and style that Martinez and Rodgers had already implemented as a philosophy at the club.

It is a cliché that is often heard in football that club’s come out saying they believe in the vision of their new manager and they are delighted with the appointment, well maybe it’s time we implement a managerial transfer window and then the people making these monumental decisions are forced to think them through.

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