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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for Forbes.com and Soccerly.com and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


TANGENTS

Disposable Managers In the Premier League

Written by on February 8, 2011 | 7 Comments »
Posted in West Bromwich Albion

“We are all failures – at least, all the best of us are.” JM Barrie

Open any management book and you are likely to find a chapter on how important it is to make mistakes.

Time and time again the best CEOs and management consultants tell us if we are not making mistakes then we are not pushing hard enough and it is only by making mistakes that we learn.

We might consider sport to be different than business but it isn’t and leading a football club is really no different than managing a business.

It is about identifying and bringing together a group of individuals whose talents mesh to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. It is about focusing on a goal and creating a plan to help achieve the goal.

So if football management and business management are so similar then why are so many managers tossed aside and never return to the level they achieved previously?

Is there a football manager out there who could be termed as successful who has not been fired at some stage in his career? Sir Alex Ferguson was fired by St. Mirren, Arsene Wenger by Monaco, and Jose Mourinho by Chelsea.

A quick review of a list of former Premier League managers produces close to 150 names. Managers who at one time or another were deemed qualified to be in charge of a Premier League side.

Now a few were true temporary appointments and some resurfaced at another club only to be fired again. But nonetheless when you consider that the Premier League is now in its 19th season that is an average of 8 managers a season who have a Premier appointment (or two) on their resume but will not return.

That is not a statistic that will encourage the latest victim of the Premier League managers-cull Robert Di Matteo.

The decision to fire Di Matteo follows on the heels of a two other odd dismissals. Chris Hughton was let go by Newcastle even though he helped to stabilize the most turbulent of clubs and brought them back to the Premier League with a minimum of fuss and little drama.

With Newcastle sitting in mid-table at the time he was terminated it made it difficult to reconcile the decision. Blackburn followed up with firing Sam Allardyce – a veteran manager who had guided Blackburn into safe waters after they flirted with the relegation zone during the 2009/10 season.

Some could point to a bad run of results for West Brom under Di Matteo – 7 defeats in the last 9 Premier League matches. No doubt Di Matteo made mistakes but to think that a manager with less than four years of experience would not is clearly ridiculous.

But he was good enough for West Brom to hire from MK Dons of League One in the summer of 2009 with only one season of experience under his belt.

He was good enough to take West Brom back into the Premier League and he was good enough to win at the Emirates and Goodison Park this season and leave Old Trafford with a point – WBA the only team so far to do so.

West Brom may now only sit above the relegation zone on account of goal difference but they are only a couple of wins away from 10th spot as well. Close to two-thirds of the Premier League are looking downwards with some trepidation with 12 or 13 rounds still to play.

Here’s hoping that another team sees not only the error made by West Brom but also see the benefit of hiring a manager who made his mistakes somewhere else.

Robert Di Matteo and the brand of football he promoted deserve another chance in the Premier League.

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7 responses to “Disposable Managers In the Premier League”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    Bobbo – So good ol’ Shteeve fined Diego 10K and suspended him for one game after the Brazilian insisted on taking the PK aganist McClaren’s direct orders of Patrick Helmes taking PK duties.

    As we all know, Diego missed the PK and cost Wolfsburg at least a draw.

    Guess who won out in the end, Diego or Shteeeve?

    LOL

    PS This is one sacking U fully understand unlike a DiMatteo or Hughton.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Derek Taylor, bobbysoccerrep. bobbysoccerrep said: http://tiny.cc/szbe7 Flushing Premier League managers – Roberto Di Matteo the latest casualty – will he get another chance unlike others […]

  3. John Bladen says:

    Sadly, Bobby, PL managers (in any country) are the footballing equivalent of Disposable Red Shirted Ensigns on the original Star Trek. Most of the time, when the curtain rises and they are revealed, you know things will go very, very badly for them in short order.

    I agree it’s not fair, but since the alternative seems to be having the club owners/boards accept that their expectations cannot be met in the short term, and that their own methods are a significant part of the club’s problems, I don’t see it changing…

  4. Derek Taylor says:

    Everyone’s afraid that they’re manager is Phil Brown at Hull. ‘Great start, barely stayed up but we stuck with him. Then we stunk, fired him, and were relegated the following season.’

    It’s tough for people to realize that they were never that good in the first place. The line “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” that’s used for teams having a bad start, also applies to great starts.

  5. Rossoneri Red Devil says:

    Di Matteo to Blackburn next season? The ownership wants exciting football. I just want him in the Premier League.

  6. We laugh at the number of times we see Italian clubs recycle managers but maybe there are on to something. Not everyone learns by their mistakes but there are those who do.

    Not definitive by any means and far from the finished article but look at Leonardo. Do you think Leonardo was a better manager last season with Milan with no managerial experience or at Inter with a full season of experience under his belt?

  7. […] and “club chairman” in the tags, we might as well add the ever-excellent Bobby McMahon’s take on West Brom’s sacking of Roberto di […]

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