MAN­AGER ROLE STILL HAS A LOT TO OF­FER THE GAME

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

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?

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