There is a growing trend in Football which I find quite troubling. These days, football managers at the top level have to endure a sort of probation period. Managers need to achieve a relative degree of success and earn the fans’ support almost instantly or else face the chop. Gone are the days when managers came and went in the summer to avoid a disruptive interference with routine. Nowadays teams can have as many as four or five in the space of a single season. This trend contradicts the common knowledge that people need time to adjust to changes. Managers need time to grow accustomed to their team and learn how best to guide them, instead the modern manager finds himself praying for lucky results early on.
This trend continues despite the fact that consistently successful teams boast a low manager turnover. Sir Alex Ferguson is the obvious example. The Scot took charge at the helm in 1986 with expectations running high. Fergie didn’t claim the coveted Premiership until 1993, and we all know how things have gone since then. These days a story like Fergie’s wouldn’t exist. If a manager doesn’t make an instant impact he’s out. Just imagine how different Man Utd’s fortunes could have been if Sir Alex had been the victim of such hot-headed treatment.
Recently relegated Newcastle are leaders of this disgusting habit. Since Sir Bobby Robson’s departure in 2006 the Toon Army have seen and sacked Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce and Kevin Keegan and are currently under the leadership of Alan Shearer, as Joe Kinnear’s health couldn’t take the strain of the poisoned chalice.
What amazes me about Newcastle is the senseless appointment of former heroes. Keegan almost, almost won the League with them twelve years ago so surely he’s their answer! Oh no, wait, the current squad are incomparably worse then the 1996/97 team Keegan coached. Well then obviously their hopes lie in Alan Shearer, he scored a record amount of goals for the club, that automatically means he has all the necessary attributes of a great manager…doesn’t it!? At the very heart of Newcastle’s problem is their Chairman Mike Ashley. Wearing a jersey which shows off your beer-belly is a valiant effort to fit in with the hardcore fans Mike, but the team needs a Chairman who rules with logic not someone who gets swept along with the emotion of notoriously fickle fans.
I know it seems like I’m picking on Newcastle, and I am because their story is particularly ludicrous. But a similar cut-throat attitude is visible in other well-known sides, take Real Madrid. Vicente del Bosque, Carlos Queiroz and Fabio Capello have all suffered the wrath of the Bernabeu faithful in recent seasons. In certain situations managers simply aren’t suited to the team, its obvious from the start and it’s the right call to let them go, but for the most part they need to be given longer than the fans or the Chairman are willing to allow. Zola took his time settling in at West Ham but now he’s got his team playing winning football and attractive football.
The hint in the media towards doubts over Arsene Wegner’s future at Arsenal best personifies how this trend is becoming ridiculous. The Frenchman is unquestionably one of the finest managers the League has ever seen. With minimal financial support he always manages to find best unknown players. Considering what he has achieved for the club; three league titles, 4 FA cup success and a place in the 2006 Champions League final, speculation that he’s not the right man for the job is laughable….or at least it would be if such notions weren’t becoming more and more frequent in modern football.