Mad Men: Premier League Managers


With managers coming and going in football quicker than ever, it begs the question as to why you would be crazy enough to take up a job in management in the world of football (apart from the huge pay outs of course) when quite simply you have no time to implement any of your methods.

This article follows the recent sacking of Michael Laudrup, following a spell of just a year and a half in charge. Laudrup, who’s Swansea side finished ninth in the table and won the League cup last season, was sacked due to Swansea’s poor form which had seen them sit just two points above the relegation zone.

Laudrup’s sacking particularly, as well as the sacking of other Premier League managers this season such as Paulo Di Canio, Martin Jol, Steve Clarke, Andres Villas Boas, Malky Mackay and Rene Meulensteen, has sparked huge debate amongst pundits, players and fans as to how much time Premier League managers should be given before they can be properly judged.

Pundits such as Gary Neville, feel that the constant sackings of managers in the top clubs is affecting the development of future players in clubs academies and youth squads. Neville, who was quoted on Twitter as saying that Laudrup’s sacking as a ‘shambles’, went into further debate on the social networking site as stating that constant sacking of managers is becoming a ‘major issue in the development of young players.’ Neville went on to expand further with these tweets:

Certainly, Neville’s argument and suggestions – which have been supported by numerous pundits and players such as Tim Cahill the former Everton player – hold resonance, with the Pellegrini statistic seeming both striking yet unsurprising at the same time in the mad game that we call football. So, such arguments and statistics raise a fundamental question: in this modern era what is an acceptable length of time to give a manager? There are numerous arguments one could give for such a question. However, for me you can look no further than Sir Alex Ferguson to see that ultimately longevity breeds success. Over a management spell of 27 years, Ferguson won 13 league titles, two Champions Leagues, the Cup Winners’ Cup, five FA Cups and four League Cups with United. Aside from trophy success, Ferguson managed to bring through a lot of young talent through the United team- both English and foreign- most famously the class of ’92 consisting of Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, Butt and the Neville brothers Gary and Phil.

However, in a day where billionaire owners pump vast amounts of money into football and success is demanded from the off, it is perhaps unrealistic to suggest that such an example like Ferguson will ever occur again. For me the arguably most ridiculous thing about managerial sackings are the pay-offs. What on earth is the point of signing a manager up to a 3 or 4 year contract when you only give him a couple of months in charge and then have to give him a huge pay-out to see out the rest of his contract. Take André Villas-Boas for example, his sacking earlier this season earned him £4 million just under 2 years after he received £12 million following his sacking by Chelsea. This I agree is nothing compared to the much higher transfer fees clubs pay for players – however this is not the point.

But back to the fundamental question, for me in an ideal world, a club should give a manager a minimum of 2 and a half seasons at the club. The first to settle and adjust so he can bring in his own back room staff, players he wants and implement his style and tactics on the team. Another season to allow the team, tactics and manager to gel together, and the final season to be the evaluation season where the manager can then be fairly judged as he has been given adequate time to change everything. However, the world of football today is far from an ideal one, it is one filled with crazy billionaire owners who demand instant success and place monumental pressure and expectations on their managers from the off. It appears that only way longevity will be achieved by a manger is if the Chairmen and Owners of the football clubs manage the team themselves, as I highly doubt they would sack themselves. Well maybe Vincent Tan might….


Jack Pethick. Sport Editor 2014-2016. Third-Year History student. Mainly write for the Sport section but dabble in writing News and Features. General Armchair pundit and lover of all things Sport. #WouldDoABetterJobThanCarragher

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