Football’s attitude to sacking managers is arrogant
Former English premier league soccer player Robbie Fowler, right, pictured with the North Queensland Fury coach Ian Ferguson in March, 2009. Fowler played for the North Queensland Fury in the A-League. (AP Photo/ Michael Chambers)
The fickle industry that is football management has continued throughout the 2012/13 A-League season.
Of the 10 who started, only five – van Egmond (Newcastle Jets), Postecoglou (Melbourne Victory), Aloisi (Melbourne Heart), Arnold (Central Coast) and Popovic (Western Sydney) – remain in place.
Ian Crook (Sydney), Ian Ferguson (Perth), Rado Vidosic (Brisbane), John Kosmina (Adelaide) and now Herbert have been sacked or quit.
The merry-go-round cannot be healthy for any club, consigning them to a circle of inconsistency where players find it difficult to commit all their energies to long-term success.
The sacking of a manager is not only a massive risk it can be at an even bigger expense.
After Herbert’s recent resignation as Wellington coach, Newcastle Jets gaffer, Gary van Egmond, is now the most capped incumbent in the A-League. In fact, van Egmond is in rare company in that he has never been sacked from a senior coaching role.
He quit the Jets in 2009 when the club was owned by Con Constantine to accept a role at the Australian Institute of Sport then returned in late 2011 after new owner Nathan Tinkler sacked Branko Culina.
Some clubs have gone down the road of promoting inexperienced assistants from within. After Mehmet Durakovic’s horror year at Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane were digging their own graves by appointing Ian Crook and Rado Vidosic, who, as we know, have since fallen by the wayside.
A problem I see with promoting assistant coaches is they are very buddy-buddy with the players because they haven’t had to make the tough selection calls.
A-League CEOs must soon realise they are far better off sticking solid with a coach so that they can achieve their objectives over a four- or five- year period, rather than reacting to internal ructions, dressing room uncertainty, or a poor period of form.
To support the idea of stability owners must acknowledge the 27 years of success of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Having taken on the job in 1986, it wasn’t until 1990 that the club started to reap the rewards. They won the FA cup then they beat Barcelona in 1991 to win the European Cup. In the 1992/93 season, they went on to win their first Premier League title since 1967 as well as taking out the League Cup in 1992.
There aren’t many clubs around the world that have stuck solid with their managers and I very much doubt whether there are many that would have stuck solid, as Untied did, if Ferguson was at their club.
The pressure of success and trying to play attractive football continues to drive the high turnover of managers. All clubs are looking for success, and I think all clubs are getting to the stage where they want to see, right at this moment, a particular playing style.
A possession-based playing style is an extremely broad term, but seeing that implemented into football clubs it is obviously very effective as we’ve seen the best clubs in the world do it and do it well.
But this style is near impossible to implement in only a season or two, especially if you don’t have the ‘cattle’ to do it.
In the sack-happy culture of football, next week could very well prove to be a landmark in the fragile life of a manager.