All in all, very little was gained by anyone from Roy Hodgson’s ill-fated six month spell at Liverpool.
One thing it did show, however, is that the Premier League needs to re-think how quickly it dismisses out of hand the managerial acumen of some of the world’s finest bosses.
Prior to taking the Anfield hot seat, Hodgson had amassed years of both domestic and international experience, spearheading Inter Milan, Switzerland, Fulham and of course, now England.
Hodgson’s career spoke for itself (he is even credited with introducing zonal marking to Swedish football for the first time), but his prestige was quickly torn to shreds after an unsuccessful spell with the Reds.
In management, pleasing everybody is nigh on impossible. Tony Pulis found out the hard way last season. Pulis appeared never to have heard of ‘total football’. His style was unglamorous, and at times brutal. But, considering the players at his disposal, he achieved the astonishing feat of guiding humble Stoke City into the Premier League and keeping them there for the last seven years.
This season, though, he was turned on by some sections of the crowd at the Britannia when the Potters were struggling, and left the club by mutual consent in May.
Alarmingly, his replacement Mark Hughes does not have an overly different style, and will not have Stoke playing like Brazil even if he guides them to a respectable place in the table.
English football is to be singled out, for the simple reason that elsewhere in Europe, chopping and changing managers is an undisputed fact of the game. Even title-winning managers are often dispensed with at the end of the season in the belief that a fresh face is needed to maintain success.
The Premier League, on the other hand, keeps up an absurd facade about seeking longevity and stability in its managers. Young managers are axed without a second’s thought, even the successful ones – Roberto Di Matteo being a prime example.
The football world would do well to remember that Sir Alex Ferguson won nothing in his first three years at Old Trafford.
The board and the fans all play their part in this managerial merry-go-round. Almost from the day he took charge, Steve Kean was a hate figure at Blackburn Rovers from the club’s own supporters. With that kind of pressure, it beggars the question of how much success could ever be achieved in such a vitriolic atmosphere.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement at the end of the season marked an end to a remarkable 26 years at the helm of Manchester United; particularly remarkable because at the current rate, managers keeping a job for 26 weeks seems a commendable feat.
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