Who would be a football manager?
A Football managers life is not an easy one. Ok, if you manage in the Premier league, it can be well paid and many social perks are available for the current day Football boss. It isn't easy though, up rooting your family and moving to the other side of the country. Add that to fickle fans and nervous Chairmen, would you want to do it?
You live and die by your results, true. Sometimes though a take over can lead to your dismissal, just because you are not the current chairmans pick.
Take Chris Wilder, at Oxford United for example. He came in when Oxford were still struggling down in the Conference League, two years later, promotion back to the Football league, via a play-off final at Wembley and he is a hero. But, 18 games into the season and the fans had started to turn. After 5 consecutive defeats, the local BBC radio phone in had a plethora of calls calling for his head. Obviously they must be struggling at the foot of the table, with relegation back to the Conference a real possibility......well no, sitting near mid table and not far off the play-offs. Does that really deserve to have fans calling for your head. I believe not, it is a shame too many fans react this way, as it adds unnecessary pressure on the players and management making it even harder to win games.
I had warned to watch out for a rush of sackings in the first 3 weeks of December. Why? Historically, Chairmen lose their bottle, when fickle fans start baying for blood and rather than risk their money in the January transfer window, with the current manager, they feel it better served to sack him and get the next one in. This one will surely spend wisely and get us out of trouble, or so they think. Too often changing a manager brings a fresh approach and renewed impetus that only lasts two or three games, before normal service is resumed and the slide down the table continues.
In Oxfords case the downward spiral could happen. Sack Wilder, currently in mid table and all sorts of problems could occur and relegation could then easily become a reality.
Amazingly what occurred in December had many of the experts choking and flabbergasted:-
- Chris Hughton - Newcastle mid table - Sacked replace by Alan Pardew still mid table.
- Sam Allardyce - Blackburn Mid table sacked as they wanted a someone with more experience - replaced by inexperienced Steve Kean - still mid table.
- Roy Hodgson 3 months into Liverpool contract, ok they were struggling but with players like Torres not playing to his best it was going to be difficult - replaced by Kenny Dalgleish - had a good start but will it continue?
Two managers that have been fortunate to stay in their jobs were Mark Hughes and Avram Grant. Hughes is a good guy and will get Fulham back up the table, punching above their weight yet again. Grant would have been sacked had it not been for the fact that they had progressed into the semi's of the Carling Cup. West Ham may regret not removing him in December, by the end of the season. The call will then go to Hughton to try to repeat his Championship success and return West Ham to the Premiership, as he did with Newcastle.
At the local Oxfordshire Sports Partnership Awards, Chris Wilder received the award for Coach of the year and Oxford United, Team of the year. How quickly things change.
A managers life may be rich in rewards but, how fickle it is.