Hire and fire approach to management, a familiar method for football clubs

Article I wrote in March 2017 –

At this time of the year when clubs are fighting for survival, leading to managers being dismissed because of financial pressures, football can leave fans with an uncomfortable feeling that the game isn’t what it used to be.

It might be sad but the reality is putting long-term faith in managers is almost a thing of the past.

The fact that the Premier League’s second longest serving manager, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe, has only been in the role for four and a half years compared to the twenty years Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger has sat in the dugout tells a story.

Sticking with the manager can seem preferable, but with the huge amount of money floating around in the modern game making a change to avoid being at a costly disadvantage to other clubs is worth it.

In the first half of last season a record was set when nearly thirty managers were dismissed in English football’s top four divisions.

Of course firing the manager doesn’t guarantee success but avoiding becoming the only side to suffer relegation the season after winning the first division since 1938 Leicester City needed to make alterations when they sacked Claudio Ranieri last month.

When you consider that under new manager Craig Shakespeare they have won all of his first four games and now look unlikely to go down it’s clearer why the owners took the decision.

For whatever reason the players were not playing for their former manager that had secured such an unlikely title triumph, the situation could have been unrepairable if someone else hadn’t stepped in.

The financial cost of relegation to the Championship from the Premier League has become greater this season given that all top tier sides will earn at least £100 million just from TV revenues, the same amount Leicester received for winning the title.

No surprise then why of the current bottom six top flight teams at this stage there have been more managerial changes compared to whole of last season.

The gulf between English football’s first and second tier will be so large that falling behind competitors because of relegation will not be worth the risk to owners.

In the current climate stability is a commodity and clubs that have it can count themselves fortunate, going through a quick turnover of managers is just a standard feature of the game and it’s something that we’re going to have to get comfortable with.

 

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