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Why are Premier League and EFL clubs so impatient with manag

วันที่วางจำหน่าย:2022年11月24 เรียกดู:  ผู้เขียน:

Football has a funny way of reflecting wider events.

Earlier this week, no fewer than three Premier League clubs Aston Villa,WolvesandBournemouth were searching for a permanent manager, while Britain was about to have its third prime minister in less than two months. If you managed to avoid any jokes about how the next prime minister should be Sam Allardyce or likening the political situation to the managerial flux at Watford, congratulations for not using social media.

Last weeks front page of The Economist, summarising the turmoil in British politics, read simply Welcome to Britaly. Whereas once Britons laughed at the revolving door at the top of Italian politics, its now commonplace here.

But the same comparison already applies to English football. Not so long ago, Serie A andPremier Leagueclubs had entirely different approaches to managerial tenures. In The Italian Job, an excellent book published in 2006 by Gianluca Vialli and Gabriele Marcotti about the differences between Italian and English football, the differences were outlined concisely.

Taking into account a period between 2000-01 and 2003-04, Vialli and Marcotti found that the average Italian club in the top two divisions had 4.7 full-time managers in those four years, significantly higher than the 2.8 in England. All of the 12 clubs relegated from Serie A to Serie B during that period had changed their manager, compared to 50 per cent of relegated English clubs. Vialli and Marcotti criticised the Italian game for its impatience, its obsession with the here and now, while suggesting English managers are as secure as civil servants.

Sixteen years on, that is no longer true. Italian clubs still sack managers regularly, but the English system has moved towards that approach, too.

Of the 92 clubs in the Premier League and English Football League,Arsenals Mikel Arteta is the 13th longest-serving manager, which seems absurd considering hes been in position for less than three years. If you were appointed before February 23 this year, youre in the top 50 per cent of managers in the top four divisions in terms of time spent in your current job, while 24 per cent of clubs have already changed manager this season. The turnover is staggering.

On the one hand, managers have become more disposable because most clubs have moved towards an Italian-style system of a first-team coach, rather than an old-school general manager who controlled everything. On the other, owners are more trigger-happy.

But its not simply owners. Supporters also appear less patient than ever; more likely to want a manager sacked and more likely to vocalise that in an extreme way at a relatively early stage.

TakeSteven Gerrards spell at Aston Villa, for example. Few would claim Villa were getting good enough results or playing entertaining football. But, on the pitch, things werent yet disastrous. In fact, at a point when Gerrard only had one game to save his job, Villa had won four straight games in expected goals terms, againstSouthampton,Leeds,Nottingham ForestandChelsea.

Supporters, though, had already turned. Rightly or wrongly, they wanted Gerrard gone and let him know throughout the following game, the fatal 3-0 loss atFulham. Some taunted him by singing the old chant about him slipping on his arse against Chelsea in 2014. And by that point, Gerrards position was untenable. Even if it was possible to mount a defence of him, the support was gone, and soon enough, so was he.

A similar situation is happening at Leeds, another club who have endured a difficult start to the campaign. Talk to supporters and youll findsupport for Jesse Marsch is staggeringly low.

Leeds are in the relegation zone but they had the better of two of their last three games, against Arsenal andLeicester. Besides, only five points currently separate the entire bottom half, so one lucky victory or defeat from a relatively low sample of 12 games has a huge impact on league placing. And yet some Leeds supporters were chanting sacked in the morning to Marsch last weekend. Like the Gerrard song, this is something you expect of rival supporters, not a clubs own fans, and in days gone by, that level of dissent used to only materialise after an astonishingly bad run.

Why do supporters seem to turn more quickly on their clubs manager? The answer is surely at least partly related to the non-stop way football is now consumed. Once upon a time, you went to the match once a week, you watched highlights of the game, read a couple of newspaper articles about your side and chatted to a couple of friends, but that was pretty much it. You were then detached from the game.

Today, if there is a general feeling of discontent with your clubs manager, its possible to be inundated with reminders about his struggles several times a day, through various sources. Fans can, if they choose, access non-stop opinion from fellow supporters about the managers struggles.

In their book Wiser, Cass Sunstein and Reid Hastie two academics renowned for their focus on behaviour economics and decision making showed something interesting about groupthink. They demonstrated that if you form a group of people who all have a similar initial view about a controversial topic and get them to discuss it, by the end of the discussion the group often emerges with a more extreme consensus than the starting point of any individual participant.

This is surely significant in terms of following football online, particularly through social media. If most supporters think that a manager is doing quite a bad job and there are forums for them to constantly discuss it online, they will probably end up thinking that the manager is performing absolutely disastrously, rather than merely quite poorly.

And supporters views matter. The period of behind-closed-doors football was significant in this respect, for various reasons.

First, football without fans was bleak, so supporters were praised like never before; their status was enhanced.

Second, among all this, there was the most significant demonstration of fan power imaginable when supporter protests shut down theEuropean Super Leaguemovement within days of it being unveiled. I want to apologise to all the fans and supporters ofLiverpoolFootball Club for the disruption I caused,said Liverpool owner John Henry.The project was never going to stand without the support of the fans. Other owners repeated a similar message.

Third, and most relevantly, there was a major impact from no one being in grounds to voice disapproval about a clubs manager. Only four Premier League managers were sacked all season.That compares with seven the season beforehand and 10 last season. It was the lowest figure since 2011-12.

After 11 games of this season,weve already seen five Premier League managers depart (although lets call it four, since one caused the other Brightondidnt want to lose Graham Potter to Chelsea). It wouldnt be a surprise if it was seven or eight by Christmas.

That season of few sackings demonstrated the power of supporters once they were back in grounds to get their manager out. In a way, its all quite democratic.

Of course, it isnt the responsibility of supporters to be reasonable and rational. They pay increasingly high ticket prices and are entitled to express their opinion in the ground or online. And it is the job of the board to take a more level-headed view.

But, all things considered, we cant denounce owners for their impatience with managers, while also insisting that they listen to the fans.

(Top photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

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Michael Coxconcentrates on tactical analysis. He is the author of two books - The Mixer, about the tactical evolution of the Premier League, and Zonal Marking, about footballing philosophies across Europe.Follow Michael on Twitter@Zonal_Marking