News   |    November 15th, 2021

WHAT PRICE LOYALTY?

There are 92 football clubs in the top four divisions in this country. 4 teams can achieve success in League 2, 3 in League One, 3 in The Championship and if Champions League qualification is the barometer for success in the Premier League, then 4 clubs in that league. That means that of the 92 clubs only 14 can achieve League success which means 78 won’t.

Against that background and with the growing influence of pressurising social media posting by fans and negative media reporting on managers, is it any wonder that so many managers continue to lose their jobs? Daniel Farke at Norwich City and Dean Smith at Aston Villa are the latest managerial casualties and yet both led their clubs to the promised land of the Premier League and were rewarded with new contracts for doing so. Both of them nurtured players who have been sold for huge sums of money that have ensured that there will no financial issues faced by the two clubs for some time. Nuno Espirito Santo lasted just 16 weeks as Spurs manager following his appointment in the summer.

I read so many so-called experts telling Steven Gerrard that he should stay put at Rangers and not leave to join Aston Villa. I couldn’t disagree more. Gerrard has done a great job at Rangers re-establishing the club at the top of the Scottish Premiership and delivering the League title but make no mistake having had that success then just like Farke, Santo and Smith if results took a turn for the worse, he could lose his job and his stock would immediately be lower.  The short termism that now engulfs football and the vocal demands of fans means that patience has gone out of the window and fans and those in the boardroom want instant results. It is only right that managers like Gerrard take a better job when it is on offer as there is no guarantee that offer will come again. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who started with an amazing run of results as caretaker manager of Manchester United but is now deemed to be under achieving is felt by many observers to be the next casualty.

One person to benefit from the switch to Aston Villa is Gerrard’s assistant Michael Beale. I came across Michael in his academy days at Charlton and his progress in coaching has been quite brilliant and he has a very good reputation in the game. At some stage he will be a manager in his own right if he decides to join the merry-go-round. He helped me enormously with a scouting issue in Gibraltar earlier this year and is a real professional.

Loyalty is a two-way process and if you demand it, you also need to show it.

Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

Peter Varney - Chairman, Integral Sports Managaement.

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