Date: 5th September 2008 at 8:07am
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So, Alan Curbishley has resigned as West Ham manager. Kevin Keegan has resigned as Newcastle manager, both claiming to have been forced out by the board.

So much has been said about foreign investors owning premiership clubs over the past few years – a discussion recently that was re-sparked by the sale of Man City – about how Jonny foreigner is only interested in money, expects instant success, and doesn’t care about the fans.

However, is this confined solely to foreign owners? And is it even true?

In short, the answer is that all chairmen want to bring success to there clubs. And also, all chairmen want to be able to earn money from their investments – certainly not loose money! So is it really unreasonable that ticket prices are going up, and that more and more, games are being moved to put them on the TV? However the answer to the first question is a resounding no. All chairmen – no matter what there nationality, or how much they support there club, will still not want to loose millions of pounds – Mike Ashley is the obvious example. Rather than taking steps to avoid Newcastle’s “king” leaving, he limited Keegan in the transfer window, placed restrictions on him, and then sold Miller.

At Pompey, we are lucky. Yes, our owner is foreign. However he does let Harry do what he likes with the squad, without interfering – Harry summed this up very well when talking about the West Ham vacancy saying “I have one big advantage over a lot of Premier League bosses these days: I’ve got an owner who lets the manager manage.” He (Gaydamak) has done wonders to make Pompey far more professional – although as this summer proved; we still have a long way to go in that respect! Yes, our first ever appearance in the UEFA cup may have been moved to 6:00 to allow for a TV audience, and more money, but Peter Storrie makes a good point, the UEFA cup is not a bag of money, and travelling out to Portugal is not
free, and must be funded somehow.

The fact that over the summer our apparent net spend was only £300 000 – which does not take into account tax, of which there will be a great deal (who will forget the Kaboul debate, when it turned out we may have to miss out on him, because we could not afford the £1.2million tax!) – has been a cause for concern for many people, thinking that Sascha is not providing what he promised, however we can not expect miracles (or millions) from a man who is not made of money.

So when we look at the premiership in the future, and gasp at the number of foreign owners (8), and complain that it is them forcing the manager merry-go-round into full swing, it is probably better to consider the fact that who-ever the owners of top premiership teams are, they all want to be successful. And just because they are English, it doesn’t mean they won’t want to stick their hand in the team selection.

Written by pompeycarpet.

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9 Replies to “Manager Merry-go-round”

  • If I could afford my very own football team, could I resist tinkering about with players? Could I sit and watch my Manager buying players that they eventually don’t use cos they are c–p and continue to use my money to pay their wages? Could I resist getting involved in negotiations when the money at stake is mine? No, I don’t think I could – could you?

    I think the very fact that we all have long heated discussions about formations, who to play where, what tactics to use, who to buy and how much are they worth, means that my question doesn’t really need to be answered………

  • Good article Carpet. It can certainly be argued that if a business or wealthy individual invests in/buys a club then it is their preogative to run that club as they see fit, whether we like it or not. There’s certainly evidence this week that the role of the manager is changing to that of a continental coach. There was a time when a manager was allowed to use his skills in blending together a team and a playing style. Often he would build a team that was a reflection of his character/personality; for example… Mercer, Allison, Shankly, Busby, Revie, Mee, Clough, Greenwood, Mackay, Nicholson, Paisley, Dalglish, Graham, Keegan Fergusson, Sexton, Venables and, more recently perhaps, despite the money ast his disposal, Mourinho. I reckon Harry and Martin O’ Neil are the closest to that old style of manager in top flight football – the old style managers are still prevalentl in the Championship and below, where budgetary constraints call upon them to use every ounce of their managerial savvy. In the past, a wealthy benefactor would go and get the best manager he could and then say “build me a team” – now the benefactors go and get the players too and say “Heaven help you if you don’t win the title/finish top four etc”. Actually, having just read that list of great managers from the past, I realise how very much times have changed. I remember one journalist saying, when Sunderland were bottom under Mick McCarthy and Chelsea were flying high with Jose, that swap the managers round and Sunderland would still be bottom and Chelsea still top. OK, money doesn’t make a TEAM, but, in today’s football it is seemingly more important than the the people-management skills and tactical prowess of the manager. That’s what they call progress I guess.

  • Top stuff carpet. I agree with the comments above too especially Gandor’s questions about could you avoid getting involved if you had invested heavily? The answer is no but if you appoint a manager to manage then he MUST be allowed to however difficult it will make life. The demand for sucess though is too great.

  • I feel the question is, is the person buying a football club because he wants to make money or because he loves football and thinks, wot a gas! Unfortunately, since I became interested in football I’ve heard massive sums being spent, but not massive sums being made, and therein lies the problem. I think perhaps, it is an expensive hobby for a lot of Owners and possibly it is not as difficult as it once was to build a team – if you have a lot of money. So it makes sense that the owners do the nice bits (choosing players etc) and the managers put in the donkey work ie: the coaching. I don’t say it is right, but it must be an irrestistable way of carrying on. What amazes me is that there is always another Manager to step in and take over after the last one has been treated like pooh!

  • Successful teams in England are run by managers that manage. Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton, Villa & even us, thankfully, have mangers that in the best part say who is coming & going. Yes owners have to balance the books but what goes on at european clubs & has been happening at West Ham & Newcastle is awful. How can Curbs or KK be expected to be successful under those conditions.We had a taster a few years ago & we all know what disasters that led to.

  • For me, it’s somewhat ironic that this should happen with Keegan and Curbishley at the same time. Curbishley is a hands-on manager, and a damn good one. He’s the kind of manager that wants control over players coming and going, and should have it, because he makes good use of it. Employing someone like him makes no sense at all if you don’t plan to let him have control over tactics, formations, transfers ( within limits, obviously ) and all that. Keegan, on the other hand, may want control over all those things, but he probably shouldn’t have it. Put simply ( and none too flatteringly ) he just isn’t very good at this stuff. If he was in American Football management, he would be an offensive coordinator. We don’t really have quite that equivalent in our football, but I do think he’d be a bloody good coach, if he could just accept that he isn’t cut out to be a manager. If Keegan went to Liverpool, for example, where they’ve got a wealth of expensive attacking talent and can’t put it together, he could turn them into a fantastic attacking team. I just find it odd that – with football going this way at a lot of clubs – Keegan can’t see that he perfectly suits this role. Albeit, perhaps Newcastle is not the club for him to have done it at.

  • The trouble is, because they throw so much money at it, the owners expect instant success, and won’t give managers time to build or to achieve anything. I have no sympathy with Newcastle fans going through hell right now, after they put us through the same thing last January. But I would like to know why Mike Ashley is allowed to flout the law that says you can’t drink beer in sight of the pitch.

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