Premier League — 20 May 2013
Premier League Managers: Is Change Really for the Better?

Next season, four out of the Premier League‘s top six clubs will begin the campaign with new managers, with retirements, sackings and contracts expiring meaning Chelsea, Everton and the Manchester clubs will be competing for the title with a new man in charge. This could potentially be very exciting news for the neutral, as it could well lead to the most open title race in years, which would be a welcome relief after this disappointingly noncompetitive year at the very top of the Premiership table. The four clubs will be hoping their new leaders move their respective sides forward, but is changing your manager really beneficial?

Worth the risk?

Whenever a new manager is brought in, there is an element of risk involved. Will they get on with the players? Will they be able to turn things around and improve results? In most cases, the risk is one well worth taking as the usual catalyst for a sacking is an extended run of poor performances, and club owners believe a new man simply couldn’t do any worse. Bristol Rovers were second bottom in League 2 when John Ward replaced outgoing boss Mark McGhee in December, having taken just 18 points from the first 22 games. But in the 24 games Ward was in charge, Rovers picked up 42 points, steering them well away from danger – in fact in the final standings they were just as close to the playoffs as they were to relegation. This shows just how much of a positive influence a new manager can have.


Roman Abramovich will appoint his 11th manager since 2003 this Summer, but Chelsea have won 13 trophies in that time

When someone new is appointed, the players generally have a clean slate. The manager may not have seen them play regularly, and with a fresh start, they’ll all be out to impress in the first few training sessions, hoping to catch the eye and grab a place in the starting 11. Players are bound to work harder – those who were regulars under the previous regime may no longer be guaranteed a start, and those who had been camped on the bench or in the stands suddenly have an opportunity to show what they can do.

A new manager also brings with them a new set of ideas – how to get the team fulfilling its potential, which players work best together, what each player’s best position is. They may instill a new formation or a new philosophy into the team, and while it may take time for such changes to be successful, the long term benefits can be extremely positive.

Living in the moment

However, long term thinking is something many club owners do not prioritise, with modern day football’s lust for instant success often resulting in managers being shown the door incredibly prematurely. This desperation for silverware and constant victories is clearly evident in the elite tiers of the game, especially among those clubs boasting billionaire owners, such as Manchester City and Chelsea.

Both these sides have been guilty of controversial sackings, with Roberto Mancini handed his P45 only last week, after guiding City to a disgraceful second placed finish in arguably the best league in the world. Whoever Chelsea appoint this Summer will be their eleventh manager since Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich took over in 2003, and Abromovich’s trigger-happy style has been called “a serious embarrassment” by League Managers Association Chief Executive Richard Bevan.

One thing you can’t argue against, however, is the success which Chelsea have had whilst under the Russian’s ownership, which could suggest that the instability and uncertainty at a club caused by a new manager’s arrival may not always be a bad thing.


Roman Abramovich will appoint his 11th manager since 2003 this Summer, but Chelsea have won 13 trophies in that time

Next season could well be an exciting one, as no-one can be certain just how the top sides will react to their new managers. Some will succeed, and some will be cast aside at the first sign of a bad run, but with every sacking comes an opportunity for someone else – an opportunity for them to come in, make changes and maybe bring success.

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” – Eckhart Tolle

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About Author

My name's Jamie and I'm currently studying English Language at Cardiff University. Football has always been a massive part of my life, ever since my parents bought me a York City bib as a baby, and their enthusiasm for the game has certainly rubbed off on me. I've been a season ticket holder at York for over a decade now, and have witnessed the extreme highs and lows that clubs experience over time, from relegation and the brink of liquidation, to Wembley promotion euphoria. Hopefully I will be able to get across my passion for the game in these blogs, and you'll enjoy reading my posts. Feel free to comment on any of them to agree or disagree with what I have said, and any feedback will be most welcomed. Thanks a lot for spending the time to look at my writing, Jamie.

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