A Crazy Managerial Situation


Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over Athletico Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey marked the end of the 2011/2012 season for the top European leagues and allowed fans, player and coaches alike to take a well needed deep breath and reminisce over one of the most exciting seasons ever seen. This is the period in the footballing calendar where everybody can put their feet up relax. Well, everybody except the poor sod who happens to be in the supposed enviable position of manager. As the chaos of the season draws to a close, the merry-go-round for the manager is just picking up full speed. Proverbially believed to be the most precarious position in football, this year it’s been taken to even further extremes.

No example indicates this better than the situation surrounding Roberto Di Matteo. Picking up the pieces after Andre Villas Boas’ disastrous tenure, Di Matteo defied even the most optimistic person’s belief and achieved what none of his highly paid and eminent predecessors could – he led Chelsea to the only thing Roman Abromovich hadn’t won and the one thing he has always wanted most, Champions League glory. Yet even more unbelievable than that, Chelsea are still yet to offer Di Matteo any kind of assurance over his future at the club. It’s fair to presume that in no other industry in the world would a man achieve the impossible, achieve above and beyond his expectation, achieve exactly what the chairman has always wanted, yet still not be deemed to have done enough to earn a permanent job.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish was on the wrong end of a more deserved dismissal at his beloved club. True to his reputation, he went out with his head held high and in a typically dignified fashion reiterated how he wouldn’t swap his esteemed Carling Cup triumph for anything. Harry Redknapp did just enough to keep his job despite Champions League ommission, Alex Mcleish didn’t do enough despite Premier League survivial, and Steve Kean is miraculously still holding on by the skin of his teeth. Meanwhile, young managers Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rogers and Paul Lambert are being lauded for the wonders they worked at their respected smaller Premier League clubs, only to be touted for ill-fated positions at previously mentioned notorious sackers Liverpool and Aston Villa.

Veterans Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are undoubtedly looking on with knowing smiles. They’ve seen it all before over and over again, and they’re the only two football managers on the planet who can enjoy peace of mind over the long term security of their job. Ironically, neither Ferguson or Wenger won anything this season, yet it’s counter-part Di Matteo whose job is in jeapardy. Football is a fast changing game with fickle fans, though, and it’s doubtful much of a fuss will be made if the man to take Di-Matteo’s job is the man who won his 14th out of a possible 19 trophies for Barcelona last night.

Aaron Rossi

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