Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughFiring frenzy hits football - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Firing frenzy hits football - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Firing frenzy hits football

Are football clubs chairman becoming too trigger-happy in their hiring and firing approach to club management?

With the 2011-12 season just 11 weeks old, five club’s managers have already been shown the exit door fewer than ten games into the season.

Bradford chairman Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn were the first to load up their firing cannons, replacing Colin Cooper with Phil Parkinson just four weeks into the season.  And although Parkinson was initially a popular appointment, his tenure is already coming under scrutiny after just one win from his first nine games.

Peter Reid’s dismissal from the Plymouth job was a decision which left not just the Pilgrim fans puzzled but most of the Football League.  The club whose squad is formed in the main from youth teamers are in financial disarray and it would appear are heading to the depths of non-league football, if that is they stay in business.  So the sacking of a manager with over 20 years’ experience was an interesting one.

Doncaster were also quick to remove manager Sean O’ Driscoll, a man who after five years at the club had built them up from League One mediocrity to a stable championship club.  But history and reputation plays little on the minds of chairman as they hire and fire, and after a slow start to the season O’Driscoll was sacked after just a month of league football.

Bristol City were another Championship club who did not stand for a run of poor results.  Keith Millens’s position was under pressure from the first game of the season and, with The Robins sitting bottom of the table with just six points from ten games, the City board thought change was needed and Millen was gone.

Nottingham Forest’s removal of Steve McClaren is the high-profile sacking of the season.  With Forest sitting just above the relegation zone and McClaren on a large multi-year contract, the owners were in a catch 22 position with the fans calling for the former England manager’s head while sacking him would take a huge chunk out of the club’s budget.  However, McClaren made the decision easy by offering his resignation although in this case there is no doubt he was pushed.

The Championship is seen by many as one of the most competitive leagues in the world and there is little room for a run of bad results.  This is demonstrated by the fact that of the 92 Football League clubs, 14 managers who have been at their current clubs under a year come from Championship clubs.

Indeed, does it not indicate that loyalty and time lead to success in the fact that the two managers with over ten years at clubs, namely Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson, have both won titles and cups at the highest level.

John Coleman and John Still are the Football League’s longest serving managers and have built stability for Accrington and Dagenham respectively, something which fans of the clubs would not have believed possible when they were appointed.

There are times when chairman are forced into a corner with no other choice but to remove a manager.  But it is a decision which should not be rushed – after all, imagine how the owners of Leeds felt when Brian Clough won numerous trophies with Nottingham Forrest following his infamous 40-day stint at Elland Road.

Andrew Broome


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