Club owners within the modern era treat managers like disposable commodities. They seem to believe that time really is money and are therefore unlikely to offer them a great deal of it.
Whilst player loyalty is something that is questioned frequently within today’s game, it is difficult not to sympathise with the players when their bosses, or in many past cases ‘father figures’, are being moved on even quicker than those who take to the field every Saturday. Many look at club icons such as Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and many others of that ilk who were seen as one club men, but, while no one would doubt that’s the case, could it have been a vastly different story if Manchester United had gotten rid of Sir Alex Ferguson when the going got tough early on in their respective careers?
Fans and owners have become more and more impatient over the last decade. Only Arsene Wenger has remained at a Premier League club for long enough for last week’s milk to expire, but is this a trend that may be starting to turn? Has the 2014/15 season sparked a revival in sticking by your man and reaping the rewards from it?
Whilst managers in the Football League have come and gone in the opening months, two Premier League clubs in particular have shown some real courage and commitment, even when the most loyal of fans had turned their backs on the men in charge.
These two clubs are West Ham United and, of course, the consistently ‘crisis’-ridden Newcastle United.
Let’s begin with the big man himself, Sam Allardyce. A man who knows the meaning of unfair dismissal, after his very strange termination at Blackburn by owners Venky’s, who replaced him with Steve Kean. His treatment was very poor, but it seems West Ham have taken this on board and, rather than instantly dismissing the manager despite a number of fans calling for his head, they backed him during the summer. So far, West Ham have flourished more than anyone could have really expected. Owners David Sullivan and David Gold really deserve commending for this, and whilst many may question his reasons for not only keeping the manager, but for the way in which he runs the club, so does Mike Ashley.
If you could find one person outside of Sunderland that felt Pardew still deserved to be in charge at Newcastle a matter of weeks ago, you would have asked what they had been drinking.
Ashley stuck by his man, who he handed a very contentious eight year contract to back in 2012, and for now that decision appears to be justified. A fantastic run has left Newcastle fans, who would have been happy to never see Pardew again, now holding banners stating that he is ‘back from the dead’.
The attitude taken by both West Ham and Newcastle really has to be applauded.
Football is a game of tradition and passion, and fans feel this the most when they can watch their team grow under a long-serving manager. This is something that is becoming ever more difficult with the trigger happy owners at clubs today, but the current success of both West Ham and Newcastle could well convince owners to give it that extra season to see what happens.
Let’s hope that there are many more stories like those of Pardew and Allardyce over the coming seasons, and many more names are remembered for their long-term contributions, rather than being sent to the unemployment line.
Massimo Cellino, Venky’s group, Jeremy Pearce, Vincent Tan and many other trigger happy chairmen – take note.