Why Premier League clubs should act now if they are planning a managerial change

Mike Ashley has moved on to page five of his how not to run a football club manual and appointed Joe Kinnear as the director of football at Newcastle.

In what promises to be the worst example of Geordie man-management since Cheryl Cole gave Ashley a late pass, Newcastle have reclaimed the lifetime achievement crown in relation to brainless football decisions.

 There doesn’t, on the surface, appear to be anything redeeming about this appointment however the timing could be the one thing that Ashley has got right.

We have seen numerous examples in recent years of clubs panicking and sacking managers during the course of season in the hope of reversing a team’s fortunes.

Last season five clubs, Chelsea, Southampton, Sunderland, Reading and Queens Park Rangers all followed this path and opted to change the men in charge.

It’s debatable whether any of these teams enjoyed an improvement in performance or had better seasons than would have transpired with the previous incumbent in place.

Chelsea with Rafa Benitez of course won the Europa League as well as the HR award for how to make a new starter feel comfortable in their job.

While Southampton under Mauricio Pochettino earned plaudits for their high energy pressing football and enjoyed impressive victories over Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

However in terms of league position, and generally advancement or preservation in this regard are why these changes are made; only Southampton bettered the place achieved by the former boss.

Pochettino elevated the Saints from the 15th spot that he found them in up to fourteenth. Maybe not quite the leap that some might perceive given the recognition he received.

His 25% win rate from 16 games also perhaps isn’t the validation that some would look for to justify the removal of Nigel Adkins who achieved a respectable 22.7% rate from six more matches.

QPR, Reading and Chelsea maintained the positions of 20th, 19TH and 3rd that they filled prior to the new managers taking the reins, Sunderland dropped one place following Paolo Di Canio’s introduction.

It is clear why these tough judgments are undertaken, I’ve no doubt all boards, chairman and owners will feel that they are done for the betterment of the football club.

I for one certainly don’t envy them having to make some of these difficult calls particularly with the financial implications of failing to remain in the Premier League seemingly increasing every year.

The intelligent part of Mike Ashley’s change in management structure is that he has done it now, in pre season (The unintelligent bit is obviously that he’ chosen Joe Kinnear to work with Alan Pardew but that’s for another day).

The teams that made their modifications during the summer last year all generally fared better than they had the preceding season.

Tottenham, Liverpool, West Brom, Swansea, Norwich and Aston Villa all had new bosses in place for the commencement of the league programme in August.

With the exception of Spurs, all of these teams improved on the league position of the previous year and even then, Villas-Boas men actually beat the point’s total that the White Hart Lane club had achieved in Harry Redknapp’s final year.

As has been extolled recently by the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, the way forward should be to show loyalty to managers and provide stability to enable them to work, if that fails however it probably makes sense to sack them in pre-season.

Allen Whyte

 

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