Fear should not de­ter­mine a club’s choice of man­ager

The Guardian Weekly - - Sport - In­side sport Liam Rose­nior

Pep Guardi­ola, José Mour­inho, Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino, An­to­nio Conte and Jür­gen Klopp – the man­agers of English Pre­mier League foot­ball clubs who oc­cupy the top five places in the ta­ble. All are world renowned for their dif­fer­ing but suc­cess­ful coach­ing styles and have ex­celled in their pro­fes­sion. Each is con­trast­ing in terms of per­son­al­ity, im­age and foot­balling phi­los­o­phy but there is a com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor, which is they were ex­posed to top-tier man­age­ment while in their 30s.

They achieved it dif­fer­ently but com­pared with man­agers in Eng­land they were coach­ing top-level clubs rel­a­tively young and able to ap­ply their ideas and en­gage with play­ers closely, partly ow­ing to their youth.

Think about those guys in re­la­tion to the ap­point­ment of David Moyes (54) at West Ham United and Ever­ton’s re­ported in­ter­est in Sam Al­lardyce (63). Both man­agers are the log­i­cal step in terms of an ex­pe­ri­enced, safe pair of hands who would be ex­pected to guide these teams to safety from the fi­nan­cial per­ils of rel­e­ga­tion.

For years, we have asked where top English coaches with new ideas are com­ing from, and then – with­out look­ing for the right per­son – clubs have in­stead opted to con­tinue the seem­ingly end­less ob­ses­sion with the man­age­rial merry-go-round. Thus we see the same faces linked to every avail­able job re­gard­less of what they did at their pre­vi­ous clubs.

The rea­son for this is twofold and bound to the nat­u­ral emo­tion in ev­ery­one who gov­erns the abil­ity to make de­ci­sions re­gard­less of our cir­cum­stances: fear. Fear of los­ing the vast sums of money now at stake in the Pre­mier League that would be

lost through rel­e­ga­tion. Fear of ridicule and pres­sure from the me­dia.

Foot­ball is too great a sport to be paral­ysed by fear. The longer it stran­gles our game and pro­motes safe­ty­first ap­point­ments, the longer we will end up with clubs re­ject­ing the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop bet­ter fu­tures in favour of fo­cus­ing on sur­vival.

Liam Rose­nior plays for Brighton & Hove Al­bion and is a colum­nist for the Guardian

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