Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Premise For Hiring and Firing a Football Manager

There are 92 Football Association registered Clubs in England , comprising Four playing divisions , and if i told you no less than 38 of those  Clubs Sacked their Manager between August 2011 and June 2012,  I am curious as to what your reaction would be....  While that is still being digested , Would you have conceived the thought over  43% of clubs across the Four playing divisions have had their football  manager for less than a year !  And about 46%  have had their manager for between 1 -3 years only ;  and no more than 7% have had their manager for between 4 - 10 years .

This reason for this State of affairs is straight forward to decipher ,  and cut through.  Chairmen and Club owners simply embark on a fatuous mode when hiring and firing managers . It is apposite to add that the elites who run Clubs in England tend to have a faulty definition of "direction" to begin with ;  or do a bad job of separating "ambition" from "direction". If an educated opinion is that the superstructure is built on the base , then it's transparent why the volatility in the football managers' office. If a Manager is hired on the premise of taking the Club in a "new direction", the question is what has informed that opinion ; and are the co-related structures also in Place to serve this transition ; or the supposition is that the new man in charge is the Silver Bullet ;  Or  Football's version of Albert Einstein? how wrong !

PERVERSE PREMISE :-  Aston Villa , Liverpool , and Spurs - three high profile Clubs to have changed their managers this summer . When you dig deep into the premise for firing the previous incumbent , and the reasons for hiring the current one , you get embarrassed at how short term gain is decimating Football.  Under Martin O'Neill ( Manager 2006 - 2010 ) Aston Villa finished 6th in 3 out of 4 seasons.  For whatever reason, he left , and to the chagrin of most observers, and no less Aston Villa Fans, Alex Mcleish was appointed to replace Gerrard Houlier ( O'Neil's successor ) who had to depart abruptly due to ill health , despite the fact Birmingham had just been relegated on his watch. Alex Mcleish succeeded in transplanting the relegation fever across town - Aston Villa, behold,  finished 16th last season, one place above  relegation. He got sacked in May.
Chief Executive of Aston Villa Football Club made an interesting statement to the media when they officially secured the services of their latest Manager Paul Lambert :

" When we were able to meet Paul , it was clear he was the right man for Aston Villa .
  We were very clear from the start the type of manager we wanted. We wanted somebody
   young to bring the vibrancy back to the club ".

When the Chief Executive of a Big Club makes comments as that above , it gives an indication as to why this endemic problem is fast accelerating.  And what did the new Aston Villa Manager have to say:

"We have to get the fans excited.  We will need them to stay with us , and  i am sure they will. We will try to get results  as quickly and as best as we can .We have to play in the right way .

We have to give them ( the fans ) something.......... i think they will come in their thousands to watch us and it is up to us to give them something back " .

That's what i call soporific stuff. If Aston Villa play like Paul Lambert sounds,  those thousands of fans will sooner fall asleep at matches

Let's look into the Liverpool version of a similar event.  After Sacking Legend Kenny Dalglish in May, FSG,  Liverpool owners set-off on this elaborate, confusing , and sometimes comical attempt at a replacement. One of the short listed candidates for the job Roberto Martinez was interviewed in Miami, and it appears he turned down the job. There was so much conflicting reports , till finally Brendan Rodgers was announced as the man for the Anfield hot seat.  Liverpool Chairman Tom Werner had this to say at the press conference to unveil Brendan Rodgers

" The style of football Brendan is associated with is exactly what we want to see at Anfield , aggressive  attacking play. Swansea were a revelation last season with their brand of entertaining football " .

Brendan Rodgers had this to say :

" I'll fight for my life , and for the people in this City. If you can have success , hopefully you can be here for many years . We might not be ready for the title, but the process starts today.

One element that characterizes statements from the Plutocrats who run Aston Villa and Liverpool is it's sweeping nature. It's almost as if they are talking about the latest machine , or state of the art gadget they just bought when  referring to their new manager . Can some one remind them that the power they wield does not necessarily translate to  making proper choices , or defining  the premise for a wise choice in footballing terms .  Further more , if there was any iota of validity to the hocus-pocus pronouncements made at these press conferences , we would not be here in the first place.  FSG's first appointment to manage Liverpool in May 2010 was non other than current England Manager Roy Hodgeson ,  Errrrrr....... who was dismissed just after  six months in charge ; His successor Kenny Dalglish lasted a year and half.  Where is their credibility ? There are legitimate reasons to see Club owners as part of the problem , because of the illogical positions they take in the first place.

INSIDE OUT :- It is irrefutable Clubs need building inside out , and not out side in. It is baffling that most clubs take the anachronistic approach of building outside in. Investing  expensively on a coach / manager who is flavour of the month is usually throwing money down the drain.  Such extrapolating in Football seldom works.  They rarely reproduce similarly in a different environment.  A Club should  expand and invest in it's own identity and heritage ; building internal structures to propagate it's ethos. To this end , retaining the services of ex-players who symbolize it's traditions , represents one of the best ways of keeping stability. Having a clutch of ex - players around the Club, in influential capacities is just as important to the fans ; enhancing their potential to manage the Club amounts to a smarter investment .   It's nothing short of scandalous when a manager is recruited from another Club on reputation. It's condescending and misleading , and creates an unreasonable level of expectancy , and in the end,  an invalid  premise to fire him. The Club suffers more than anything else.  Have you ever wondered why new managers have to bring in their own dietician , psychologist , goal keeping coach , fitness coach , assistant coaches , a particular player(s) from his ex- Club and the like. When he eventually gets fired , the Club is left paying for  these accessories the next manager wants discarded .  So , why buy into the preposterous idea of having them in the first place ? One of the reasons transplanting "success" is hardly enduring in football .

INSANE  it is to play high stakes with a Club's fortunes , staking everything on the manager's performance. It takes more than that to be successful. There are few exceptional managers in European Football. The rest are much of a muchness. Some , fate serves a curved ball ! and some tend to be in the right place at the right time. There is nothing esoteric about the knowledge they possess. Sometimes it's all about a suave agent overstating the capabilities of his Client , or the right set of players exist at a Club at that time - time and chance.  I actually would go for a lobotomized model of a manager . One who does not play Saviour to the Club. A Club's image must always exceed that of it's manager.  Pandering to a manager's reputation is cheap.  Clubs need to stop making guinea pigs out of manager , and prostituting itself in the process.  If  a Club is built inside out ,  managers need not bear all the brunt for failure , nor indulge in the hyperbole that comes with winning. Reality lies in-between.  Alex Fergusson  and Arsene Wenger  are not models,  rather , rare off-shoots , or mutations.  You cannot recreate such , and it is foolish giving so much to a manager in hope or expectation he has  the potential to be a replica version of these iconic Managers.  Rather as i indicated earlier , a reduction in the manager's powers and activity , and the Internal Mechanisms of the Club absorbing a bit more responsibility , actually puts the right perspective to matters ; the manager can work without an albatross hanging around his neck.  The Concept a manager lives or dies by results,  or has to grovel in the lime light , or receives a public lynching when results are bad is down right primitive .

Football must remember it is a team sport in every sense of the word. The manager is not the entire reason for short comings. A code of collective responsibility needs to be enshrined in football. If the right structures are built internally , the Club will be in good health , make better decisions , and above all,  it's success potentially would  intertwine countless  cycles. It's a given " success " and "ambition " are relative . Clubs need to get the optics right . Football  evokes gullibility and irrationality , perhaps that's the genesis of it's problems.

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