MANAGER ROLE STILL HAS A LOT TO OFFER THE GAME
WHEN Nottingham Forest became the latest club to have a managerial vacancy, the departing manager Aitor Karanka cited ‘outside influence’ as the reason for his departure.
That reason surprised me, because I don’t see a job in football today where that will not be the case to some degree or other.
Football management is a very different role in 2019 from the job it was 22 years ago when I first managed.
Back then, I chose the players, agreed deals with clubs, negotiated player contracts, decided who played and decided who left. Without those powers, a manager is definitely far less empowered and far less respected by the dressing room. Without those powers, a dressing room can manage a manager.
I’m not sure that clubs always appreciate the extent to which that holds true.
There is a case, of course, for arguing that a ‘team’ decision on signings within a club ensures that different perspectives are taken into account.
There is a case, of course, for saying that the manager may be too emotionally engaged in wanting a player to negotiate contract numbers effectively.
But these arguments underestimate the quality of a good manager. Good managers seek out and always take on board intelligent opinions so that they CAN make thought-through and collaborative decisions.
Management does not need to be a dead art. Yes, the head coach has emerged, the director of football has sprung up and the head of recruitment grows in power.
But 50-year-old managers with 1,000 games in management, and a passion for the dugout, have a lot of experience to share which has future value and I do believe that the pendulum will swing such that the old fashioned role of a manager will reemerge and reintegrate itself into the modern era.
When you think of Leeds, Portsmouth and Lincoln, you think of the strong men at the helm. Three League leaders, three strong managers in Marcelo Bielsa, Kenny Jackett and Danny Cowley. Food for thought?