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The Managerial Merry-go-round

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 22/10/2009

MANY people complain about agents leaching money from the game in their "cuts" from many of the transfer deals that take place every season. In fact there is a more invidious group of people fleecing our game: managers.

For most of us getting sacked would be a disaster financially, and certainly not an event to gain from. For a football manager it's an even bigger pay day than the one on which he took the job in the first place. No wonder Mike Newell sounded happier the day after he'd been sacked than he had done for ages.

And yet managers are being sacked left, right and centre. Recently Ian McParland and Gareth Southgate have both been sacked when their respective teams are within spitting distance of the top of the division.

The reality is somebody else will be more than happy to appoint a manager who has been sacked, even several times. In what other profession is this the case?

Already in League Two this season 6 out of 24 sides have changed their manager. And it's only October! By the end of the season it's going to be half the sides in the division, almost certainly, where a change has been made at the top. It's like musical chairs with a each new manager usually having come from another club in English football.

A manager only needs to have been sacked two or three times and he'll probably be well enough off to retire on the proceeds, Alan Buckley being a case in point.

And yet what's the solution? If we gave managers shorter contracts, or much smaller compensation packages when they were dismissed (e.g. by only paying them until they got a new job) then we'd inevitably see even more sackings. Mike Newell only remained in his job as long as he did because of the large cost of replacing him. Likewise most of his predeccessors.

Ultimately it's the chairman who decide to sack their managers, and pressure from the fans which forces their hands in turn.

So are we the fans to blame for all the sackings? Let's face it somebody has to be in the bottom half of table. Are we being to unreasonable in our expectations, in the demands we put on the people who run our clubs? We are all too willing to overlook the failings of our incumbent managers at other clubs where they have lost their jobs. Why are we so blind when it comes to our own teams?

Quite simply I suspect clubs would fare much better by sticking with the manager they currently have and investing more in their teams. It is very rare to see a club who continuously change their manager have much success, Chelsea being one exception which springs to mind.

It's easier said than done though when your club are lower in the table than you would like. There's always the temptation to think that the grass would be greener elsewhere, and therein lies the dilemma.

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