Post Christmas cull highlights instability of clubs
Yesterday’s sackings of Chris Hutchings, Phil Parkinson and Paul Simpson, by their respective clubs concluded a remarkable seven days, during which seven managers in the football league, lost their jobs.
There are always various reasons given for managerial change and some of those managers were at clubs deep in relegation trouble. The owners will be hoping that the energy that occasionally springs from a change of manager will be a catalyst to lift their club to safety.
It has to be said though, that changing the manager, rarely changes the circumstances of a football club. Many of these managers will have been working against a background of financial instability at their club, or an inadequate playing squad for the ambitions of the board. There is rarely a magic wand and it may take years of careful management to turn these businesses around.
Expectations levels around football are at an all time high and the ability of fans to show their decent so vehemently and immediately, through phone ins, or via the internet, increases the pressure on chairmen to make change.
Whether each decision is right or wrong is always open to debate, but the latest figures from the League Manager’s Association, highlight the precarious nature of a career as a football manager in England. The average tenure of the manager’s in League 2 at present is 1.76 years. In League 1 – 1.85 years and in The Championship, the most volatile league of all an average of 1.45 years.
The figure for the Premier League looks far more stable – an average of 3.53 years, until you take out Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger’s combined 40 years of stability. That brings the average for the other 18 managers back to 1.7.
They are truly startling figures for any aspiring coach or manager.
Given those statistics there is a further question for chairmen/ owners and even supporters. Where is the encouragement for managers to make decisions for the long term benefit of your club when the statistics tell them they are unlikely to be in position for longer than 18 months?
There is a danger that managers make short term decisions to allow themselves more time in the job and that will not encourage the development of young players and long term strategies. Clubs risk a continual cycle of change and little progression and I wonder how long football can continue to run its business in this fashion?