Sack-happy chairmen only have themselves to blame for the struggles of their club. Managerial changes are painfully commonplace in the modern game, despite many people acknowledging that maintaining stability brings success, rather than making knee-jerk decisions. Managers are losing their jobs with remarkable ease. Some clubs have benefited from a managerial switch, but for many, the problems worsen. I can have no sympathy for these clubs.
It is hardly surprising that of the seven teams to have changed their manager this season, Tottenham are the only club not occupying one of the bottom six places in the table. Of course, some changes were necessary: Di Canio was a nightmare for Sunderland; he had to go. Similarly, Ian Holloway’s resignation from Crystal Palace was made with the best interests of the club at heart. In the remaining seven or eight games of the season, I am hoping that their replacements, Poyet and Pulis can avoid relegation, proof that these changes were justified.
However, the same cannot be said for Cardiff and West Brom, for example, who both replaced good managers doing well, in Malky Mackay and Steve Clarke, with unproven Premier League coaches, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pepe Mel. Perhaps these clubs were hoping for some sort of ‘Pochettino effect’ to boost their survival chances, but to hope that one man can have the same effect as a youth system and structure as strong as Southampton’s, is quite frankly, ludicrous. Was there a plan behind these changes? Or were they just wild stabs in the dark?
People might argue that the reason all these clubs are at the bottom is because they are underachieving and therefore the man responsible needs replacing. But I detected no such problems with Michael Laudrup at Swansea before he was unceremoniously disposed of. Sam Allardyce and Chris Hughton have both come under intense pressure this season, but in persevering with their managers, both West Ham and Norwich are edging closer and closer towards survival. Rash changes rarely pay off. The fiasco at Fulham proves that. In taking so long to find a suitable replacement for Martin Jol, their slim chances of survival became almost impossible.
As a fan, you want to see managers given time to implement their style of play and gradually improve the club. Southampton and now Stoke are both great examples of this. Even through a run of poor results, the club has to give their backing to the manager. It may well be the case that a club has to get relegated for it to realise the consequences of its actions. It’s a harsh, but necessary, punishment. With a bit of luck, these clubs will serve as an example of how to not behave, giving managers more time in the coming years.