With all the money and expectation in the modern game, football managers are under more pressure than ever. Over the last few weeks I have been shocked at how certain players, fans and journalists have treated managers and feel it’s time a little more appreciation is shown to the men brave enough to take on the roles.
Just a few decades ago, players would live and die by managerial decisions. These days, the trust has gone and players have too much of a say in the how a club is run. There are increasing reports of managers ‘losing the dressing room’ which emphasises how certain players feel they are bigger than both the manager and the club. Some even go as far as refusing to play for their club, despite being under contract.
Fans also play a huge part. The dominance of social media has allowed fans to become a lot more vocal in regards to their team’s performances. Twitter hashtags and club TV channels are just some of the ways in which fans can share their opinions with the rest of the world. These outlets can be positive because they filter the views of fans into one place however, they can have a dark side.
Personally, I am tired of hearing Wenger Out, or more recently Klopp Out. The Arsenal faithful need to remember the amount Arsène Wenger has done for the club and although fans are angered by the lack of league titles he has won; consistently finishing in the top four for 20 years is an achievement in itself, given how competitive the league has become. Calls to sack Klopp are even more ridiculous. Apart from a slight drop in form last month, Liverpool have looked strong this season and Jürgen Klopp has formed an exciting team with freedom and a high work ethic. In my opinion, there are few managers out there who would do a better job than these two.
Another manager feeling the pressure is Claudio Ranieri. Leicester have not scored in their last six league games and are in real trouble after losing to relegation rivals Swansea at the weekend. Despite this, I was thrilled when the club issued a statement claiming they have complete faith in their manager. Ranieri’s achievements last season were beyond all realms of possibility and it would be extremely harsh for Leicester to forget all their glory and dispose of the manager who has done so much for them. Things do have to change at Leicester, and quickly too, but Ranieri has shown what he can get out of his side and needs to be given the chance to recapture some of the magic from last season.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 7, 2017
Time and loyalty are luxuries not a lot of managers are awarded in the modern game. Sir Alex Ferguson had a tough start at Manchester United but became one of the greatest managers in the world. In his first 29 games as gaffer, The Red Devils picked up 43 points, a very average tally for title contenders. This turned out to be one of many sticky patches for Fergie at Manchester United but the club stuck with him and their loyalty paid off massively. Nowadays club’s owners are a lot less patient and expect quick returns on their investments which makes it tricky for managers who often need time to implement their style of play on a team.
Ultimately, being a manager is a truly demanding job. Like referees, managers seem to be straight in the spotlight when things go wrong and are perhaps not given as much credit as they deserve. In saying this, they must earn respect by remaining calm in high-pressure situations and being careful with their words and actions.
Managers can face threats from club owners, players and the media so fans should look to support their club’s gaffer as best as they can instead of becoming an addition to the list of threats they encounter.