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Managers Collateral Damage in Fans vs. Owner Battle

Steve Bruce is no stranger to being hung out to dry by his respective employers. At Hull City he was virtually singled out as club spokesman when the owners attempted to erase the team’s history by renaming it as part of a rebranding strategy. Then at Newcastle he performed the same role for Mike Ashley, being asked to stand between the Sports Direct boss and the irate Toon Army.

It is therefore no surprise that since his sacking at Newcastle he has released statements about the torment he has suffered while fulfilling his role as a topflight manager. Indeed, his treatment is now being highlighted as a potential barrier for new managers to enter the game, especially ex-players who probably could do without even more abuse than they suffered during their playing careers.

Do Inflated Salaries Justify Such Treatment?

There is an argument that because top managers and players get paid so much that they should just put up with the flack that comes their way, but in many ways this misses the point, that being that if managers are so distracted fighting battles on behalf of their club’s owners they will not find the time to run their football team correctly. Just as managers often talk of protecting their players, it might be a good idea for owners to do the same with their managers.

Is There a Different Way?

Ultimately managers put up with enough criticism regarding how their charges are living up to the betting odds and the expectations of online tipsters and sports bettors. This means that none of them need the added pressure of acting as a front man for their owner. Clubs may wish to start putting official PR or spokespeople in front of the cameras when such issues relating to club ownership arise, allowing managers to focus instead on delivering for those fans who wagered their online free bets on top football action. It could also be good that as part of Premier League rules, club owners should be forced to face fans or the media a set number of times each season, thus further taking pressure off the shoulders of harassed managers. The odds of that happening are slim, but it would certainly make for a fairer and more transparent Premier League.

Is Bruce the Only One?

Bruce is far from the only manager undertaking this sort of role of go between. A good case in point was the whole furore surrounding the European Super League, where managers found out in the media that their club was being entered in the breakaway league rather than being kept abreast of the topic by their bosses. This led to managers like Jürgen Klopp having to explain his club’s actions, despite them being counter to his own beliefs on how the game should be run.

Article title: Managers Collateral Damage in Fans vs. Owner Battle

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