Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge of Manchester United for nearly twenty seven years, he brought endless amounts of success to the club and is considered to be one of the greatest managers of all time. Despite his exciting appointment in November 1986, it wasn’t until 1990 that he won his first trophy with the club after Manchester United beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final replay. It took Sir Alex three and a half years to win his first trophy at United and you can’t help but think that if that was the case in today’s day and age, he may have already been sacked.
Every football manager will each have their own views and strategies on how the game should be played and how the club should be run. For example, current Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, is known for his conservative style of play and at the other end of the scale, Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has been widely recognised for implementing a very attacking and exciting style of play. All managers are different and see things differently. In the Premier League this season, their have been ten sackings since the start of the season which is half of the division having a managerial change during the season. Obviously, some dismissals are inevitable and and are the right decision but is every failing at the club down to the manager? Look at Leicester last season, the players started playing again after Ranieri was sacked in February 2017. It is a well-known cliche that the manager can ‘lose the dressing room’ but is it right to turn on your manager when he probably needs you the most? There will be players who fall out with the manager and who won’t get on with them but when things like that happen, it is the supporters who suffer. More often than not, I believe the players need to take more responsibility if the club is on a bad run of results or not playing to their best ability.
There have been a number of sackings over the years which I think have been farcical. One that sticks out in my mind is Birmingham City sacking Gary Rowett in December 2016 when the club were in 7th place in the Championship. Rowett took over at Birmingham following their 8-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth in October 2014 with the club in the relegation zone in the Championship and turned around the club’s fortunes, seemingly mounting a play-off challenge in the 2016-17 season. I don’t know what went on behind the scenes but it seemed a ridiculous decision to me. Birmingham have endured a tough time since then, with the club needing to fight for survival in that same season and needing to be steered to safety this time around as well. I do feel the club have now got a good manager in Garry Monk and I wish him every success there.
I feel that it’s got to a point now that when a manager has been in charge for around 2 years, it is surprising they are still in the job. Sean Dyche has been Burnley manager for six years and has achieved a Europa League spot with the club this season but it hasn’t been all plain sailing for him. Burnley were promoted to the Premier League under Dyche in the 2013-14 season but were immediately back down after suffering relegation in the 2014-15 season. The club stuck with Dyche and what he has achieved since then speaks volumes. It raises the debate that managers are not given long enough to bring success to football clubs. I personally don’t think they are. A bad run of results does not always mean the manager has failed. As I said, both the manager and the players must take responsibility for this and then have the chance to put it right.
John Coleman’s recent success at Accrington is another interesting managerial story that proves standing by your manager can work. He was in charge of Stanley first between 1999 and 2012, achieving three promotions in that time, culminating in the club reaching the Football League in 2006. His thirteen-year tenure is evident that sticking with your manager can go a long way. He has since re-joined them with his second appointment coming in 2014 and he has now got them promoted to League One, finishing as champions in the 2017/18 season.
Another strange decision that clubs tend to make is when they appoint managers on three or four year deals because more often than not, they don’t last that long. If a club is going to bring in a manager on a long-term contract, I think it ought to show some loyalty and stick with them and trust in their work. Obviously, consistent failure needs to be addressed and sacking the manager is sometimes the answer and can often spark a reaction from the players like with Leicester (although that decision was controversial). The thing that is frustrating to see is the clubs who are not in any real danger and are constantly chopping and changing. This does not give the manager time to settle in, bring in their own ideas and bring some stability to the club.
What do you make of these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!