I am a football fan. Like any fan, I get passionate about how my team is playing, I get frustrated when we lose and elated when we win. But, over the past few years, I have noticed how people’s expectations have changed.
Maybe it is the lure of the money in the Premiership, but it seems the done thing to call for the manager’s head at the drop of a hat (or at the drop of three points). And the statistics show that chairmen are quite happy to ring the changes. From a BBC Sport report:
“There were 52 managerial changes in the Football League between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2013, of which 34 were dismissals.”
Some of those dismissals were well documented, such as the three managers at Blackburn last season, or the three at Leicester a few years ago under Mr Mandaric.
That instability creates poor performance. By constantly switching managers, you are wasting money on firing and then hiring,. You are wasting money on recruiting new players that the new manager wants. The players have to learn new systems and new training methods. It all takes time and is very unsettling.
If you have read my other blogs you will know that change takes time to become embedded and therefore successful. Teams, in whatever walk of life you are in, do not perform well in the long term during times of change and upheaval.
So, I believe that the problem is not with the manager, the coaches or even the players. If you are changing your manager once a year, the problem is with you. This from Richard Bevan the CEO of the League Managers Association,
They must then take the time to recruit the appropriate manager for the job, one who shares and can deliver the club’s vision.
Becoming the chairman of a football club requires no experience, a cursory background check to make sure they are “fit and proper”. It tends to be whoever has the money, or the promise of money.
But being a chairman of a club is a position of power and responsibility. They are the leaders of an organisation employing from 30 people to hundreds of people. There are the managers, the coaches, the players, the workers in the canteen, the groundsmen, the ticket sellers, the people on the gate. You have a responsibility to the thousands of fans, both those who attend and those who read the reports in the newspapers. And, quite often, you have a responsibility to the local community, the success of a club having an economic impact, for instance. Therefore, a chairman of a football club has to act as a leader to be successful.
Like any organisation, a football clubs needs a clear vision. A vision that comes from the stakeholders as well as from the chairman.
It needs calmness and an eye on the long term view.
It needs stability.
So, Mr Chairmen of the Football League clubs. Develop a vision with your staff and supporters and recruit someone who shares that vision passionately … support them, help them and stick with them … and you will have a successful football club!