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Modern day management

December 15, 2009

I was watching a local football show earlier today and one of the topics that caught my attention and really got me thinking was the different skills required to manage a group of highly paid individuals. I put Mark Hughes in as my article image centrepiece because he is one person who would clearly know what its like. Managers in the modern era or at least in the upper leagues of each nation face a new challenge, compared to those in the lower leagues or eras gone past. While football purists like to think that players will play for the love of the game, and fight for their spots in the team, reality suggests that this utopia is unlikely to exist for much longer.

Sure there are a number of exceptions and if I were to pick from the EPL, it would belong to both Man Utd and Chelsea, where there are players who get paid large sums of money, but are happy to fight for their places in the team, putting in every ounce of commitment. Go down a bit lower and the likes of Man City, Tottenham and perhaps even Liverpool have players who are paid lots of money, but are not willing to fight for their places, or are only there because of the money. Then there are others who are playing, but are playing to put themselves in the shop window, in the hope somebody else will come in and bid for them.

Adebayor made it quite clear he moved for the money (although he retraced this later but damage done) and is one of those players who is fantastic to have on your team, but you don’t know how long he will continue to kiss the badge of your club. He had no shame in declaring his status as available for a transfer the moment he made the Beyonce comment after knowing of AC Milan’s interest. Pavlychenko (sp?) is paid to warm the bench, and although he’s tried his best to break into the squad, with Defoe on form and Keane as captain, it is very hard for him to get sufficient playing time to state his case. It is only with Russia’s exit from WC qualifying that rumours of him leaving have died down. Ryan Babel has made it clear he would like to leave Liverpool, and everytime he plays, it seems to me he’s given up on trying to convince Benitez he is worthy of a starting 11 place.

As I watched the show I wondered whether managers of yesteryear would succeed in the modern day environment of football management. You only have to look back to SAF when he was first hired as Man Utd manager in 1986, and nearly got the sack, before a FA Cup victory saved his job. If the old SAF was to start managing the game now, would he have lasted? Even if he did, would any of the more successful managers now have succeeded back then? The late Sir Bobby Robson made it quite clear in his autobiography that he believe he’d have more success if the game hadn’t changed so much, and you could see his point, with his earlier stints in Ipswich having been more successful than his late stint in Newcastle. Players then wanted to play for the game, and without the Bosman ruling, they couldn’t simply play out their contracts.

Turn the tables around and would any of the managers plying their trade in the lower leagues have better success if the game stayed the way it was in the 80s and 70s? Two names I can think of are Alan Pardew and Alan Curbishley, who seem to do better when the players had less egos and less money to burn. As soon as they came up to the EPL and brought in foreign players who were interested in the then-more valuable GBP, they struggled to keep the local and foreign players happy.

At the end of the day, it is all a matter of ifs and buts, and we can only guess what might have been. The game is the way it is now because of sponsorship, changes in game and contractual rules, and the media hype. Evolution will take place, and does not take into account whether a manager or player is ready for it or not, and if you’re not in with it, then you won’t make it in the game we now recognise as professional football.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2009 8:42 am

    interesting post…

  2. Chaza permalink
    December 16, 2009 5:19 pm

    Intriguing post, I believe you are simply seeing the transgressions identical to that of the “evolution” of popular American sports. American Football, Basketball, and Baseball have seen the likes of this phenomenon for a couple of decades. In some ways it is a curse, in others it is a motivator for even greater competition. Unfortunately the business aspect has now taken over your great country and league. The revenue from these players and superteams far exceeds the revenue from silverware. It is a sad truth, but you can not tell me it is not a pleasure (addiction) to watch the Chelsea’s, Man United, Real Madrid’s, Barcelona’s etc… Plain and simple THAT is the return on these clubs investments; we are in a time when all you have to do is follow the dollar and this just goes to show this is now true of the players as well.

  3. December 20, 2009 6:25 am

    Hughes got sacked. Maybe I should change the pic. Lol!

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