The poisoned chalice. The impossible job. Phrases used to describe the managerial position of a football club. It has become increasingly common for a resignation or termination of a manager’s contract in the modern world, and it is certainly is in correlation because of the increasing pressure to deliver consistent results and getting as high up the ladder as is humanly (or inhumanly) possible.
In light of Sam Allardyce’s shock, if not bizarre sacking on Monday, Sir Alex Ferguson, a man that has the trust and confidence of his board and is the epitome of the potential of greatness if the manager receives continuous backing from its owners, condemned Blackburn Rovers’ decision as ‘absolutely ridiculous’. And by god is he right. The new owners were on record as recently saying that the manager’s job was safe, but as they have the memory of a goldfish, that backing was certainly forgotten. Allardyce has maximised both Bolton’s and Blackburn’s output, and it is clear to see that he knows the game inside out, sticking to his strengths regardless of what Monsieur Wenger says about his side’s physicality.
The root of all these problems actually stems from what is normally described as a success. There is no doubt that the Barclays Premier League is the most watched, the highest amount produced by sponsors, but most importantly of all, the richest league in the world. However, as much as we delight in the spending spree that often entails a new owner’s arrival (thinking back to Big Rom and his endless pocketful of money, and more recently Sheik Mansour literally draining his money bank to fund Manchester City’s transfer campaigns), the behind the scenes activities and the real motives that lay behind these tycoons is clearly at the detriment of our beloved football league. Although it may be rude to say that these owners know ‘naff all’ about the game, the idea they can read the £ sign quite clearly over each club’s heads, they are seemingly under the impression that to buy success, a foreign manager must been in place.
The most explicit example is surely Roberto Mancini. A man brought in to replace Mark Hughes, he at one point had the same amount of points as the latter at the same number of games before Hughes got sacked. Hmmm…. Clearly Mansour is hypnotised by the Italian’s classy name, and is not looking at things in perspective. Managers should be given fair chances, and it should be on the basis of whether the man is right for the job.
It sends out the wrong message to the people of this world who have the qualities and qualifications to become the next great managers of the world. They are being cast aside in favour of foreign managers, who sometimes do not even have a track record that is comparable to a British manager. We are effectively stopping the careers of budding young managers, and they grow up under the illusion that unless success can be delivered instantaneously, failure knocks on the door with a note of immediate termination of your contract.
The likes of Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson have shown what can be achieved with time and effort. But money doesn’t grow on trees, and as such other managers do not have the luxury to have a transitional season or to gel the players, for finishing in a lower position than expected, could have serious financial implications.
Until such time as foreign owners realise that the best candidate should get the nod, managerial jobs are just not going to be in the job full time. Chris Hughton, loved by the fans, loved by the players, but not loved by Mike Ashley. It is increasingly frustrating that the future of our football clubs are becoming heavily dependent on the owner, and whether the manager’s views are in line with the owner’s, not vice versa.
Football is becoming money dominated, and until we can try and regulate this, foreign owners are going to destroy the grassroots of the British game. Sheikh Mansour’s ‘Arab Money’ makes him the most powerful man in Manchester and that bodes an ominous warning to Mancini and co.
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