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AVB & McLeish, Manager Merry Go Round

In the game of football expectations are always high. Fans expect to win games, players expect to play as much as they can and boardroom expectation is positive results. The man responsible to meet these expectations is the manager. No matter if things go wrong or not the manager is always the one responsible for everything that happens to a club throughout the season. So why is it then that some clubs see fit to hire managers that haven’t quiet done it at other clubs?
This season Tottenham Hotspurs hired Andre Villas Boas as their head coach after a disastrous first spell in English football with Chelsea. A poor collection of results including a 3-5 home defeat to fellow London rivals Arsenal and problems within the team by way of leaving its senior players on the bench lead to his dismissal halfway through the season.

So what is it about AVB that attracted Spurs to hire him. Now I do understand that he has had some success with Porto winning the UEFA Europa League in 2011 but is it enough? And are they hiring a manager on the back of just one good cup result?
Other clubs are guilty of this too. Aston Villa regularly hire and fire managers who haven’t done the business at other clubs. Last season Alex McLeish was taken on as manager after a dreadful previous season with their rivals Birmingham City, which resulted in them being relegated. So what qualifies this man to lead another team in the Premier League?

After only 8 wins from 38 games how can a club like Aston Villa look at this and say ‘this is the man for us’. In the end it wasn’t good enough as Aston villa only won 7 games in the league, finishing on a club record lowest points tally of just 38. Have they learnt their lesson? Well only time will tell with new manager Paul Lambert but results still are not going their way with 5 games gone and only one win from those and a terrible 4-1 defeat at the weekend to Southampton .

But this kind of hiring policy is evident throughout the leagues. West Ham, Birmingham, Wolves etc, are guilty of the same and are bouncing between Championship and Premier League on a regular basis without a stable manager.

And that’s the key for success. Stability. Have a look at any club who have a manager for more than one season and the results speak for themselves. A prime case for my argument is David Moyes at Everton. Moyes is the third longest serving manager at one club after Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. Everton have stood by Moyes even though they have been a little up and down in past seasons. Everton don’t have the millions that the top club have at there disposal but having the stability of one manager for years running the club the way he sees best has worked in their favour. Everton are in no danger of relegation like they were before Moyes took over at the club in 2002. And this season they have started in flying form with 3 wins from 5 and denied a fourth against Newcastle by two disallowed goals. With the way they are playing so far this season a top four finish is a realistic target for them.

An even better example of a club who have trusted their manager long term is Stoke City. Manager Tony Pulis took over the club for what would be his second spell in in June 2006. Stoke gave their manager time and backing and he guided them eight place in the Championship in 2007 and promotion to the Premier League in 2008. After avoiding relegation in their first season in 2009 they have gone from strength to strength and have since qualified for the UEFA Europa League in 2011. As a result of standing by their manager Stoke City can and have attracted more big name players, such as Peter Crouch and Michael Owen, that have the ability to keep Stoke as a force in the Premier League.

The truth is simple. If clubs stop playing a game of musical chairs with managers and start trusting in the one they have then they stand a better chance of success.

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