Appointing old players as managers is the way forward

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Following the departure of Sam Allardyce from West Ham at the end of the 2014/15 season, former defender Slaven Bilic was appointed as the club's new manager.

Fans' anticipation grew larger when co-owner David Gold announced that some club legends would also return as back room staff.

So far fan favourite Julian Dicks is the only one to return, however this mentality is exactly what football now needs. Both Bilic and Dicks played for the Irons, meaning they both share a passion for the club.


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Having affiliations with any club is a vital part in every decision a manger makes. Following the example of West Ham you can look to the chairman, both of whom are lifelong fans of the club.

This link has driven them to dedicate more time to the club that they had at former side Birmingham. It causes them to get more involved with the clubs transfers, invest more and show more passion at any event.

This drive is something that benefits managers too, as seen with Tim Sherwood. A controversial figure at Tottenham, Sherwood was known for his passionate speeches which spurred the team on.

Having played for the team he was able to put some real heart into those speeches and that is the effect that can be seen in these scenarios.

Youth: Understanding of the modern game

Employing fan favourites as staff members at the end of their playing career has already proven successful, allowing young former players who are in touch with the modern game to use their knowledge.

While hiring an experienced manager undoubtedly has its benefits, a youthful passionate manager gives the team energy and fresh ideas that many older managers lack. Swansea City’s Garry Monk is a shining example of this, guiding the club to 8th position last season.

Fan favourites

West Ham fans are a tough bunch to please at times, and if their ambition isn’t met by the manager, which seemed to be the case with Sam Allardyce, they are likely to turn on him.

However with a former player at the helm the West Ham faithful have taken to Bilic immediately, providing him with a much stronger support than Allardyce received upon his arrival at the club in 2011.

The same can be seen with Ryan Giggs at Manchester United, with his presence being largely beneficial to players and fans alike.

Fan interactions

Every club needs a Julian Dicks as coach! The man isn’t only a legend to Hammers everywhere but he takes the time to respond to every tweet sent by a fan, to every request for a selfie or an autograph.

If you look at the women’s game the same principle goes for every player and manager and this sort of interaction makes the sport a whole lot more special. Sure, having a twitter account can backfire, but if you manage it carefully the fans will appreciate your efforts.

The general message is that no one knows your club better than someone who played for them.

More teams, especially those in the bottom half of the table, need to follow the examples of Swansea and West Ham and give their legends a chance to show they can do more than just play the sport.

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Swansea City
Garry Monk

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