With Sir Fergie and Wenger as the only two long -term managers remaining within the Premier League, it has become obvious that somewhere along the line the pressure on managers to achieve has become much more demanding.
So, the question is… Is it the clubs’, the media or maybe even us as fans that contribute to the demise of these managers?
It is true to say that there are many factors within football management that have changed over the last few years, such as wage increases, buy-out clauses, changes to the basic dressing-room structure and the need for rapid achievements. Managers are often offered 2 ½ year contracts now instead of 4 year contracts, and they are also being paid a lot more money.
When Chelsea signed Jose Mourinho in June 2004, he was one of the highest paid managers in football; he started off on a contract for £4.2 million which was increased in 2005 to 5.2. He was and still is an amazing manager, I’m sure most people will agree with that and some might say he deserved the high pay after bringing Chelsea to great success during his time. Mourinho parted with the club before his contract was out and was given a huge payout (£18-20mil). Chelsea also paid Porto a buy out fee (£13mil) for Villa-Boas, who reportedly has a severance pay (£20mil) attached to his contract at Chelsea.
I’m not pointing the blame at Chelsea as there are other managers that have had similar contracts such as Rafa Benitez and Roberto Mancini, but they definitely broke the high wage record for managers in the Premiership. I wonder whether managers are simply trying to ensure that they are not going to be sacked early and if they do that they still get paid.
There are many reasons why managers are sacked but are some of the recent sackings unfair?
I can understand if a manager has had a really bad run of results or if a team is relegated then the natural solution is for them to part company with the club, but nowadays it seems that managers are not given a long enough time to build up a team, clubs are wanting short term success. But does the huge price tag make it harder for a manager to work to their worth?
You have to question how much the media play a part in the sacking of a manager. Already this season a lot of managers have come under heavy criticism from newspapers and pundits. If a manager has had a bad run of results or the club is doing badly then the media have a duty to report on that but I think it is harsh to criticise managers all the time for no reason. I think Villa-Boas has had some unfair media pressure this season. He has only just started the club and already there has been an article about him almost every week. To be fair Chelsea are not playing badly, they are only 4th because the other teams simply have improved – apart from Man U who have maintained the same standard as last season. Is it fair for the manager’s to keep reading these media reports? How much of it can they really ignore and not let it affect them?
In this modern day the Internet has also played a huge part in the changing of what we read, fans are not solely reliant on newspapers to get their information. They can actually choose what they want to read. There are specific groups on Facebook, fans can read club pages and participate in forums to discuss what they think. The internet has also opened up a whole world of statistics at a click of a finger so they can always see how well they are doing. The participation of footballers and managers on Twitter has increased too. Fans can openly ‘tweet’ their opinions regarding certain issues. Warnock has even blamed the media and twitter for contributing to his sacking after fans ‘tweeted’ the QPR owner stating how unhappy they were.
Football has become much more competitive and over the last 4 seasons, there has been a definite change to the Premier League. At the end of every season it used to be a case of the same 3 clubs fighting for the top spot (in various orders) with the smaller teams all trying to win a champions league/UEFA place, or even avoid relegation, but lately its been 6/7 contenders at the top with the ‘smaller’ clubs improving every year, sometimes even managing to beat the teams at the top. Most clubs are improving their teams with new players every season and the quality of footballers in today’s world is fantastic. It’s fair to say that the standard of football is improving and I also think the standard of managers is too.
After researching many reports, statistics and articles, I found that the money and business side of football has changed a lot over the last few years, this has an effect on managers and I think it plays a part in their career. Managers are still always the front man of a club, they are ultimately the person who takes the flack when things go wrong. I think that the club’s, media and fans all contribute to the demise of managers but there are always other factors involved. I would like to conclude by saying that I do think we expect too much from our managers today but they are getting paid well for that expectancy.