Mas­sacre of man­agers can be avoided

The Football League Paper - - MARK CLEMMIT - Mark Clem­mit

NOT A great sea­son so far to be a Foot­ball League man­ager. With Felix Ma­gath’s sack­ing by Ful­ham and the “mu­tual un­der­stand­ings” reached by Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer and Micky Adams with Cardiff City and Port Vale on Thurs­day, that’s nine changes al­ready across the three di­vi­sions.

It took un­til the end of Novem­ber to reach that fig­ure last year and at this point 12 months ago, Greg Ab­bott’s sack­ing by Carlisle United was the only notch on the de­par­tures bed­post.

Twelve and a half per cent of those in charge on Au­gust 9 have al­ready left their posts and we are in the mid­dle of Septem­ber. If this rate keeps go­ing, just a dozen of the Foot­ball League’s 72 will re­main by next May.

And to think, we could eas­ily have been look­ing at a greater fig­ure had Rus­sell Slade not got a tem­po­rary re­prieve at Ley­ton Ori­ent in mid­week, and Karl Oys­ton had found the re­place­ment he was look­ing for at Black­pool and not patched up his dif­fer­ences with Jose Riga.

Slade’s treat­ment by Ley­ton Ori­ent’s new supremo Francesco Bec­chetti, by the way, beg­gars belief. Slade, re­mem­ber, is the man who led the club to eight con­sec­u­tive wins at the start of last sea­son and missed out on pro­mo­tion to the Cham­pi­onship (the prize Bec­chetti is de­mand­ing this sea­son) only in a penalty shoot-out in the League One play-off fi­nal.

To pub­licly give him one game to save his ba­con is the man­age­rial equiv­a­lent of Rus­sian roulette. In the end a draw at Notts County was deemed suf­fi­cient to ex­tend Slade’s ten­ure to yes­ter­day’s game at Scun­thorpe United, but he does now seem to be jug­gling with jelly.

Be­fore we start march­ing on the next gath­er­ing of Foot­ball League chair­men and en­list­ing Amnesty to open a Cru­elty to Man­agers Depart­ment, it hasn’t been a com­pletely one way street (although, after his ex­pe­ri­ence at Leeds United, Dave Hock­a­day would have ev­ery right to dis­agree).


Mark Robins felt he’d lost his dress­ing room after Hud­der­s­field Town’s open­ing day maul­ing at the hands of Bournemouth. Guiseppe San­nino’s man man­age­ment meth­ods had cer­tainly eroded his at Wat­ford and, de­spite ask­ing him three times now, James Beat­tie still won’t tell me his fu­ture plans, but it does seem cer­tain that the decision to leave Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley, was his alone. The two man­agers I do feel sorry for are Joe Dunne at Colch­ester United and Gra­ham Ka­vanagh at Carlisle United.

Sol­sk­jaer and Ma­gath knew full well what they were tak­ing on and failed mis­er­ably.

But Dunne and Ka­vanagh were both vic­tims of the lack of re­sources they were asked to work with. Dunne re­placed more se­nior pros with his own youth team grad­u­ates and Ka­vanagh slashed costs to counter dwin­dling crowds.

The job is def­i­nitely get­ting tougher and find­ing that right fit is get­ting harder and harder; a club that matches your per­son­al­ity and fuses it with the right re­sources and, most im­por­tantly, re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions.

Some­times you get that by de­fault, some­times it comes out by ac­ci­dent and some­times metic­u­lous plan­ning – but get­ting those el­e­ments all lined up is be­com­ing an almost in­sur­mount­able chal­lenge.

It’s time for foot­ball clubs to re-eval­u­ate their place in the food chain or, rather, un­der­stand that if they have spent half a cen­tury in the lower two di­vi­sions and one quite re­cently in the Cham­pi­onship, that is not now their nat­u­ral po­si­tion.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

GONE: Ful­ham man­ager Felix Ma­gath and Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer

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