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We are now well into the football sacking season with Thomas Tuchel, Bruno Lage and Stevie Gerrard early casualties.

Leeds’ Jesse Marsch’s head is in the noose.

In an article in yesterday’s Times their chief football writer Henry Winter identified the increasing role fans play in such sackings.

Fans like legends but the problem here is that management requires a skill set – identifying talent, building and dismantling a team, dealing with the media and now social media, dealing with the owner, dealing with fans and their often unrealistic expectations, dealing with agents, finding the right coach – but none of these attributes come with legendary status.

Indeed the three best achievers in recent years – Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Jose Mourinho at Chelsea – never played for these clubs.

Conversely, Newcastle United were relegated under legend Alan Shearer and Graeme Souness was groomed for Liverpool but pulled up no trees at Anfield.

Marco Silva is performing miracles at Fulham but never kicked a ball for them, nor did Graham Potter at Brighton, nor Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

Playing in empty stadia during the pandemic, rising ticket prices and fixtures being altered to suit the television paymasters have both enhanced and aggravated fans.

They may be more vocal but not necessarily correct.

Frank Lampard was the fans’ choice at Everton – they had little time for Rafa Benitez because of his Liverpool stewardship.

Yet there is no evidence of improvement under Lampard .

I was talking to Alan Tanner about managers and he noted just how many successful appointments Mohammed Al Fayed made: two of them – Kevin Keegan and Roy Hodgson – went on to manage England, though with less success than they did the Cottagers.

Al Fayed’s vision was simple – Premiership  football in 5 years which he would bankroll. In fact it was achieved in 4, and again by a manager – Jean Tigana – who probably had not heard of Fulham when appointed.

Another interesting point is that Andy Warburton learned his managerial trade heading up a team in a bank so a football background is not a sine qua non.  

My good friend Alan Smith, who took Crystal Palace to the Premiership, is a qualified surveyor and done very nicely, thank you, in property.

So perhaps there are no hard and fast rules and – as in most careers – Lady Luck plays the biggest part of all

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About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts