The recent ‘crisis’ at Tottenham Hotspur sums up the sheer fickleness of football fans and the media alike. A month or so ago, Tottenham’s new look side were drawing praise left, right and centre for the way they had gelled together, particularly in light of their 2-0 win over Norwich City at White Hart Lane where Christian Eriksen and co dominated the Canaries with a sublime brand of football.
As their most successful manager for over 20 years, Harry Redknapp, was derided for being ‘one dimensional’, his successor Andre Villas-Boas and former employer Daniel Levy were being heralded by all for their ‘astute’ pieces of business in the transfer market – including that of Eriksen – as they made Spurs ‘stronger’ by replacing their most influential player Gareth Bale with a group that ‘bettered’ their overall squad. Indeed, it was put around that the club had replaced Elvis Presley with The Beatles. All this while Bale was struggling with injury and form at Real Madrid.
How things change, eh? While their former talisman displayed the form that made Madrid fork out a reported world record fee for him in the first place – scoring a ‘perfect’ hat-trick against Real Valladolid – Spurs were being slammed from all sides of the vicious football cycle for their ‘poor’ and ‘hasty’ transfer dealings, formation and style of play.
Suddenly, Villas-Boas ‘doesn’t know what he’s doing’, although once again, after a creditable draw with the champions, and a victory over Fulham, the angry phone-ins etc…either stopped or differed in tone to the ones in the aftermath of their 6-0 drubbing by Manchester City. No doubt the media fury would have raged again had Tottenham drawn or lost to Sunderland at the weekend. If anything sums up the fickle nature of opinions on football then this case is it.
Why clubs should not be deducted 10 points for sacking managers during a season:
I can safely say that nearly every sacking of a manager these days annoys me; because whether it’s after a month, a few months, half a season, a whole season or more, they are often wrong. It can often take years to build up for success, but some chairmen and women don’t give managers this time.
In today’s climate the likes of Joe Royle and Alex Ferguson at Oldham Athletic and Manchester United respectively wouldn’t get that now. Having said that it does depend. Royle and Ferguson may not have achieved the desired results for a good while, but they were doing things behind the scenes (Ferguson’s now plain-to-see plans for United’s youth system being the obvious example), and their employers could see this.
So even though I agree with the sentiment coming from ‘that bloke’ who said clubs who fire their manager during the season should be deducted 10 points, I don’t think it’s the answer. (This is where I become very unprofessional and refuse to confirm who said it. I heard it during Talksport’s quick news round-up while I was making a tea. Or what was it coffee? Probably tea as I rarely have coffee at home. From what I gathered it sounded like it was Stevenage boss Graham Westley, but I can’t find quotes attributed to anyone concerning this. Please forgive me and read on. I lost a lot of contacts in the football world when I posted dog faeces through the post of every single player and manager in Britain. So that’s why I can’t find out for sure who it was. Again, forgive me.)
Docking points from teams would be a successful deterrent to impatience. But it’s the wrong remedy. Varying circumstances dictate the fate of football managers, whether it be personal or professional issues with players and their employers. Or both. I feel they should be given a few seasons at least, but should Sunderland have kept on Paolo Di Canio knowing how poisonous the atmosphere was around the club? (I personally think they fired his predecessor, Martin O’Neill, too soon).
Should a chairman or woman stick with a manager if he’s had an affair with his employer’s partner? If the revelations in the media and the book of the ‘secret grasser’, sorry, ‘secret PLAYER’ are anything to go by then that sort of thing is quite a common occurrence. (He says he’s not a ‘grass’, but he’s half one at least. Who knows if ‘it’ even exists.)
If a 10 point deduction was brought in, expect a whole load of lawsuits suing each other with owners making up stories about managers breaching their contract and vice versa. It just wouldn’t work. Managers are often fired without the wishes of the club’s fans, but how can it be stopped? Should it be stopped? Or should the person(s) in charge of the club’s business affairs be allowed to do as they please?
Then again, supporters are the lifeblood of clubs who also pump revenue into them by turning out to see them everywhere they go. So should it be up to those fans? ‘‘All fans in favour, put your hands up. And all those against.’’ Not quite that scenario, but supporters’ groups should definitely be consulted before any major decision like this is made.
After all, they’re the ones who have been watching football for most of their lives, unlike most of the business brains who come into their clubs and play around; which means they will more than likely have a better idea of how to put things right on the pitch, and whether the person managing their club is someone who can do it.
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