I’m a tad late to be talking about this issue, but I feel now would be a good time to discuss the crazy situation Premier League managers are finding themselves in. Roberto Di Matteo, a Chelsea legend as a player and a FA Cup and Champions League winner after six weeks as manager, sacked? Ridiculous. Alan Pardew being given an eight year contract after a couple of good years? He must be over the moon. Arsene Wenger being questioned heavily after 16 successful years (albeit on a slight hiccup currently)? Ludicrous. Is the media to blame? Extreme pressure from the outside seems to enhance anger within fans and sprout into hatred for men attempting to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
First, I’d like to talk about the main issue of this post; what on Earth are Chelsea and Abramovic doing? The sacking of José Mourinho all those years ago seemed risky; but it has nothing on that of RDM. Di Matteo, with six legendary years at the club as a player followed by an FA Cup win and a Champions League win within weeks of taking over from the fired AVB, looked to be one of the most stable managers in the Premiership. But not at Chelsea. Apparently third in the league to the two Manchester teams is worth firing a true legend; this lack of respect is awful and an embarrassment to the sport as a whole; a summation of all that’s wrong in modern football.
It’s almost understandable that Abramovic expects trophies after the amount of money he’s put into the team; but his lack of true footballing knowledge repeatedly shines through. His lack of understanding over the need for stability to create success (look at Ferguson at United) is just one of them. Another fairly recent example was his overriding decision to pay £50 million to bring Torres into the team. This was done without thought, at Liverpool he had worked with players such as Gerrard and Alonso who could send him through in pacey attacks. Chelsea’s modern style is much slower and forces snap shots, something Torres isn’t particularly used to. In fairness, the hiring of Benitez as interim manager seemed to be an attempt to rectify Torres’ slump in form at Chelsea, but overall it’s the player’s duty to get the best out of himself; and that best seems to have been left behind when he was brought to the Bridge.
However, in my opinion, it’s not just the Owner that’s in the wrong at Chelsea. The media in recent times (particularly the BBC) seems to jump onto any downturns in form, treating managers as if they have no clue what they are doing; a point clearly picked up on by Arsene Wenger in a recent post match interview in which his team selection was questioned due to Arsenal’s poor start to the season. His response was of straight annoyance: ‘I will not explain every decision I make. I have managed for 30 years at the top level and I have to convince you I can manage the team?’. Wenger is doing a remarkable job with a limited amount of money being made available and his past success seems to be protecting his position and keeping Arsenal with some level of stability at a time when the likes of United, City and Chelsea are spending out of the team’s abilities. Despite this, scrutiny reigns around the media, calling for his head and stating that his policies no longer fit in with the league. In my opinion, it’s this need from the media to create a story that places managers in such a public light, pressurising teams into making a difference. Benitez has suffered similar treatment already. Listen to the following post-match interview and tell me that it doesn’t sound like Geoff Shreeves has it in for Benitez after only his first game in charge:
A brief word on Alan Pardew wouldn’t go amiss here either. He’s done a good job at Newcastle, but eight year’s contract? Completely unnecessary. I couldn’t imagine that he would have declined if those at St. James’ Park had offered him four or five years; there were little other managerial opportunities going, so leaving Newcastle would have been a crazy decision (on a par with sacking RDM…). Therefore, what was the need for the eight year contract? If Pardew begins to really slip up and Newcastle need a new manager, Pardew will be laughing all the way to the bank when the board have to pay off the rest of his contract. Seriously, I don’t understand what is going on with managerial positions at the moment.
It seems clear that witch-hunts from the media and their speed to judge and complain place managers under greater pressure than they’ve ever been under before; the respect for managers that used to be about in the game is no more. Boards with ludicrous amounts to spend demand trophies instantly and dismiss those who don’t deliver. Do you agree? Please comment or Tweet me with your views, @OllieMattTurner. Thanks for reading and enjoy the end to your weekend!