Musical Chairs – The managerial merry-go-round

Another week, another managerial casualty.

It seems as though not a week goes by without a manager in the Premier League or Football League being sacked.

I love the way that a club always starts it’s Twitter or news announcement with a bland, uncreative and sanitary, “The club wishes to thank…” statement, but something more honest would be refreshing. Perhaps it should be a bit more blunt, along the lines of, “…has been sacked because he was the worst manager we’ve ever had.”

It’s not always the case that they were rubbish. Some were unlucky and the face didn’t fit with new owners, some left because of broken promises, some were doing a good job within realistic ambitions and working with what they had, and others couldn’t manage a Subbuteo team.

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Some managers we disliked and once they are sacked, you think – good. Others you feel for as they clear their desks and march out of the door for good.

I would like to be a football manager. I know there’s pressure, but there’s pressure in everyday, ordinary life. I know the world is looking at you and, with the media focus, what you say is transmitted around the world in seconds, but they take the jobs knowing this and for a big fat salary.

When I say I wouldn’t mind being a football manager, I say it because when they get it wrong, they leave with a huge pay-off and the ability to often walk into another role and get it equally and abysmally wrong there as well. Nice work if you can get it. Also, have you noticed how many ex-players make lousy managers.

More often it is those that didn’t have a glittering career that do well at management. That’s not always the case, though.

So, here we are nearing February. There are 92 clubs in the football league and so far 36 have changed their managers during this season alone.

Five have gone in the Premier League, 11 in The Championship, 11 in League One and nine in League Two. And you know there will be others.

Among the clubs looking down the table as they slide nearer the relegation trap door, there will be the inevitable panic within boardrooms across the UK, the fans will demand action, there will be boos at games, the odd pitch invasion, maybe a protest or two, but someone, somewhere will be looking over their shoulder.

Is it right to make a change as the season goes on? Someone coming in fresh sometimes galvanises the team and seems to re-build a bit of belief and a side that couldn’t put two wins together before, then goes on a sensational unbeaten run – for a while at least.

Sadly, Remi Garde hasn’t had that luck at Aston Villa and Sam Allardyce is seeing inconsistency from his Sunderland side. There is that doubt a new man would make a difference and of course you have to pay off the outgoing manager and his backroom staff. With the emergence of foreign managers coming into the English game, there is another doubt, as the experience of our type of football, our leagues and the demands on clubs is probably something that they are not used to.

I also love seeing a new foreign manager coming in and it’s someone you’ve never heard of. The club quickly issues a statement to back-up why they brought in Julio The Spaniard rather than Dave who used to manager in League Two – the one everyone preferred and wanted in the first place. Then about five months later, Julio The Spaniard disappears off to the a team in the fifth tier of Greek football.

Of course managers aren’t given the time to build ‘their’ club with ‘their philosophy’ and ‘their players.’ The demands for instant success are there to see with the fans and the shareholders all demanding glory, silverware and promotion – all wanting it yesterday. We live in a world of now and our heads have been turned within consumerism to getting everything we want now. So why should football be any different?

It wasn’t always like that, though. Once upon a time managers held their jobs for far longer – most of the time, anyway.

But it is different in modern day football. You are not dealing with a commodity, you are dealing with human beings and emotions and the disease that affects us all at some point – human error. One slip by the goalkeeper – goal. The defender falls over his own feet and let’s the opposing player in – goal. The star forward has a bad day and misses a sitter – no goal.

With 92 teams looking for cup success, a title or promotion, it is impossible to expect so much.

Look at your team. How much money is there? What’s your ground like? Can you attract the players you want and a manager to get you to the promised land? It’s all about being realistic. Your team won’t always play well and this season isn’t going your way, but is sacking the manager always the answer? Fans at Charlton and Blackpool would rather see the hierarchy removed before the manager, for example.

It’s tough and lonely at the top and the buck stops with the manager. Their team, their tactics, their mess or success.

There are some clever managers out there that can take a club and its players and make a name for the club and himself. Mourinho and Klopp with Porto and Dortmund respectively are good examples of this. There are some talented managers out there looking for clubs. Expect to see them finding news clubs in the summer. Then you have talented coaches like Glenn Hoddle, who just doesn’t seem to be listened to.

If you look down the list at this season’s sacked managers, how many were in the job for more than a year? Some had only a handful of matches before being shown the door, but it comes down to the panic that reverberates around the corridors of the clubs when things aren’t going right. It’s about status, but above all, it’s about money.

Sometimes changes need to be made, but sometimes a knee-jerk reaction says it all, and gets the reward it deserves. What is the old saying? Act in haste – repent at leisure.