Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sacking the manager is not the panacea

Interesting article in the Spectator by Fraser Nelson that wonders "if David Cameron were to be run over by a bus tomorrow, who would lead the Conservative party?". He argues that, should there be an election next spring and the Tories lose, then the question will no longer be a speculative game and become real because "Opposition leaders do not survive failed election attempts in modern politics".

At first glance his analysis of Opposition leaders in 'modern politics' sounds instinctively true, but should it be the right ting to do? Conservative United Football Club certainly has been sacking its manager at the end of every season because it hasn't won the title. The board hasn't been sacking the manager because of relegation, they've just sacked him because he hasn't achieved miraculous turnarounds against the well-oiled squad across the park at Labour FC.

Ironically, the Board's problem is that its approach to the manager's position has been progressive rather than conservative. The manager is expected to take over and rapidly improve the situation. If he doesn't go fast enough then the whispering on the terraces and corporate boxes begin, and before you know it, the man's been sacked. Soon, the club becomes known as the poisoned chalice for a managerial career because the fans and the board lack patience.

The end result is that a team such as CUFC has found itself during the past ten years in an almost permanent state of flux because the manager is forever having to fiddle with the formation, the system, and the squad, in order to keep the board and fans happy. Rarely does the team get real time to bed in and gel before the manager is sacked and the right-back takes over as player-manager for a while.

Then the board starts wondering whether it can convince a former manager which it sacked to come back by wooing him and telling him how great he actually was the first time round. They'll all be lying of course and will start talking about firing him the minute the team loses a match 3-0. After that point even a 0-0 will be considered a nail in the lid of coffin, the cleansheet will be ignored, as too will the fact that the width of the pitch over at LFC is the thinnest in the league now, making goals galore a limited possibility.

The truism is not that "Opposition leaders do not survive failed election attempts in modern politics"; it's that the CUFC board, along with the fans on the terraces, need to take a step back, a deep breath and realise that thinking about a plan B and the next manager all the time is the reason the club has been in such a mess.

Trust me, I'm an Evertonian.


Anonymous said...

Great blog.

As a fellow "Toffee" I know what you mean.

What worries is that the reserves dont readily spring to mind and the "transfer" market out of the question !


Anonymous said...

Couldn't have put it better.

Either this time or the next DC will lead the party to victory. There is no one else.

Anonymous said...

Nice analogy.

So LFC (good call from an Evertonian) have just got rid of Sven Blair, and have Gordon Mclaren instead. And we're in that honeymoonish phoney war period where he can do no wrong; and nothing but friendlies on the horizon.

But who is DC in this little play?

Anonymous said...

But the Torys seem to be only second to the FA in picking poor managers of late(Although Howard was OK and Hague very badly mislead by Coe).

As a life long Tory voter I am now seriously considering taking my vote elsewhere. Even the Lib Dems sound more conservative than Call Me Dave's management.

Anonymous said...

CUFC's problem since the 1990's has been that they have never performed well in Europe, and this has caused friction with their supporters, with some of their long-term supporters handing back their season tickets after poor European performances. LFC does no better in Europe, but their supporters are less concerned.

Anonymous said...

As a Cambridge United fan, valid criticism of the CUFC board is a little too close for comfort.

Anonymous said...

Interesting though that they're getting the excuses in already for the next election defeat.

And while the argument has some merit, it ignores the fact that sometimes managers are just so obviously bad, clueless, and out of their depth, that it is better for the board to hold up its hands, say 'we were wrong', and sack the useless tosser.