The Lambert-Rodgers Uprising
The recent appointments of Paul Lambert and Brendan Rodgers at two of the Premier League's largest and most established clubs could pose a number of questions regarding managerial roles and the game as a whole. In seasons gone by, the newly promoted clubs are often near the top of the betting pile for relegation, and with that is a danger for the promoted managers to be amongst the favourites to be shown the door. Some club owners get carried away and sometimes forget what the manager did to get them there. This could be said of QPR last season, much to Warnock’s dismay. So, the appointments of Lambert and Rodgers have well and truly bucked the trend. Not only have they fulfilled their brief of ‘stay in the Premier League’, but they have excelled that task to the standard of attracting higher profile employers. Such a thing does not happen very often. The interesting aspect is that Norwich and Swansea were very modest in the transfer market. They largely stuck with the Championship teams, and it was their managerial prowess alone that brought success. When compared with QPR, who spent heavily on new players but had a close escape from relegation, the argument becomes more compelling. It would appear that managerial skill and team spirit could be more valuable commodities in today’s game, as opposed to enormous transfer budget and high profile players. Obviously, the dividends enjoyed by Norwich and Swansea were an indication of the managerial potential of Lambert and Rodgers, and most definitely posed the question of what could be possible with more investment behind them. The few seasons could be pivotal in determining the careers of these two managers insofar as the expectations may change the way in which they worked previously. Will the more demanding investors force them to change the way they managed previously? Personally, as a Villa fan I am hoping for more of what Lambert achieved last season. Some fans I have spoken to (both Villa and Liverpool) believe that last season was a honeymoon period for these managers, and that Villa and Liverpool could bear the brunt of the ‘second season’, post-honeymoon period. I do not share this opinion, but it proves that the jury is still out. It could bring in a new era whereby people skills and togetherness have more value than investors’ billions. It may be ambitious to hope for this to be true, but would it not be good for the game?
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