Continuity Is Key If Managers Are to Have Any Success

Article excerpt


TRADITION is a key element in professional football. Tradition creates the emphasis on continuity, which is the essential factor in the drive for continued success.

Unfortunately, in England's Premier League, continuity is fast following the sliding tackle -- that wonderful expression of horizontal ballet -- into the mists of time. The profusion of foreign investors into English football has devalued the central core of tradition that safeguarded the integrity of the game for many decades.

the abrupt departure of alex McLeish from Birmingham City offered an insight into the way many top clubs now run their business. McLeish is a well-organised individual who provided a very good service to his former club. over the period of his time, the Scotsman has endured increasing levels of interference from the boardroom and while he was paid well for his services, the reality is that a talented manager deserves independence in all football matters. The sacking of his chief scout, seemingly without his knowledge, was insulting and unprofessional and the attraction of a move to Aston Villa with the freedom to do the job his way -- plus a better salary -- is naturally tempting.

That his resignation was submitted in a brusque email demonstrated the irreparable nature of his relationship with the directors. Details of such internal acrimony rarely become common knowledge but unfortunately instances are becoming more prevalent.

I experienced similar happenings during my final season at Cork City. Some quite bizarre events occurred when new people moved in to run the club. I kept things to myself as long as I could to avoid disrupting the team flow and thankfully, in that respect anyway, things worked out well with an FAI Cup win. But soon after I had no option but to depart a club that still means a great deal to me.

Tradition demands that directors direct and managers manage, a system that allows talented people on both sides to know exactly where they stand and concentrate fully on improving their individual skills and giving their club the best chance of success.

Such continuity played a huge part in Manchester United's title triumph last season while the disintegration of Chelsea's title hopes, so valid at one time, epitomised the disastrous effects generated by the modern trend of interfering directors. …