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The Crazy World Of Football Management Illustrates The Redefinition Of Success In The Game

Wednesday 29th May 2013
Inspiration for this article comes courtesy of thesackrace.com who produced this article looking at the sheer volume of managerial changes that have occurred in English football over the past 12 months.

Before the end of the 2012/2013 season, no fewer than 55 clubs had changed managers since the conclusion of the previous season, that's 60% of all 92 teams, a record number of changes in dugouts up and down the country since the football league was founded 125 years ago back in 1888!

If that's not enough, Manchester Utd, Manchester City, Everton, Stoke City, Wigan Athletic, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Millwall, Sheffield United, Accrington Stanley and Torquay United have all parted company or lost their respective managers in the past month alone taking the tally of managerial changes to 65 (71% of clubs) for the past year, not forgetting the suspension of Gus Poyet at Brighton and Hove Albion to take in to account.

The Question therefore becomes just what has caused football in England to become such a cut throat business? According to managerstats.co.uk, the average career for a manager in England lasts just 124.13 games in charge.

Is the pursuit of success that appealing that clubs are willing to wield the axe on multiple occasions to get to where they want to go? Which leads to another question of "just where" are teams trying to get to?

With The Premier League having just celebrated its 21st birthday, it is alarming to learn that only five different teams have lifted the famous trophy since 1993. That said, it's no secret that the top four of the Premier League is something of a closed shop and it is likely going to be a long time before there is a sixth unique winner of the title.

Therefore, what are the other teams pursuing? Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool, West Brom, Swansea, Norwich, Stoke, Sunderland, Southampton, Aston Villa, Reading, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan have all called time on their managers or been forced in to change over the past year and it cannot be with a view of challenging for the title.

However, with one season in the Premier League now reportedly worth a staggering £120 million, it is understandable why those teams in the top flight are willing to do anything to protect the huge pay day that each season brings and why the Championship saw 16 of its 24 teams change managers as part of the stampede towards the pot of gold that awaits at the end of the Premier League rainbow.

As for those teams in League One and League Two, they are all clambering to try and get further up the echelons of the football league in order to get a bigger slice of the pie and as such, it is the managers who are ultimately paying the price for the greed of owners and chairmen who want to feast at football's 'top table'.

It is sad that wealth and rewards of English football is now more important than the once prestigious trophies that positioned game in this country ahead of its European and World counterparts.

One look at how Arsenal celebrated securing fourth place on the final day of the season illustrates that very point; you could have been forgiven for thinking that the Gunners eight year wait for silverware was over when champagne corks popped at St James's Park.

That said, there won't be too many complaints from Wigan and Swansea fans next season as they set out on their European adventures after winning the League and FA Cup respectively during the season just gone but would Arsenal's owners, players and fans trade their 'elusive' place in the Champions League for either piece of silverware that the Swans or Latics won?

Success in football has been redefined, it is no longer about success on the pitch but success on the balance sheet and it is the managers trying to deliver 'success' who are paying the price. There are no signs that the "sack race" will slow down next season or in the future and the worry therefore becomes whether there will be enough managers available to satisfy clubs pursuit of financial glory...
Jack Kitson
Massive Southampton fan, loving being back in the Premier League but cannot get enough football to feed my addiction.

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