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NLP Column 11th October 2016

This week’s NLP programme column below, written by Jon Couch.


SO, Danny Murphy believes the solution to the firing frenzy that continues to blight the game is to introduce a managerial sacking race.

It’s a nice idea from the former Liverpool and England man – and made with the best intentions – but isn’t there a danger that subjecting clubs, and of course managers, to a timeframe in which to do their housekeeping, may simply delay any inevitable parting of ways, thus potentially inciting boardroom resentment?

Murphy, in his piece with The Non-League Paper in our October 9 edition, highlights a season at Blackburn Rovers when he played under five managers! That, of course, is utterly ridiculous, but it is a situation which, sadly, is becoming more believable by the year.

Take the National League for example. At the time of writing this, no fewer than SIX managers from Non-League top table had parted company with their clubs with several more affected lower down the pyramid.

But with on-field frustration comes pressure and boardroom tension and that is where keeping chairmen and managers together against their will can have a negative effect. I mean, would fans of Derby County really wanted Nigel Pearson and Mel Morris in cahoots running their club with their relationship clearly at breaking point?

And let’s face it too Danny, managers aren’t exactly whiter than white themselves. They too would jump ship if a bigger and better job came along – and often when it is least expected. George Graham or Harry Redknapp anyone?

If there really is a problem with loyalty in football, then the danger is that come January 1 (or whenever the managers window opened), a free-for-all of illegal approaches and underhand tactics to force a parting of the ways could leave an even more bitter taste in the mouth.

It’s not just managers that need protecting, it’s football clubs as a whole.

Murphy says: “What a sacking window would give is real stability, it all allow players to know what’s going on and it will also ensure managers get the time they need to make a success of themselves.

“We can’t go on having two or three people losing their jobs every week. I don’t see who that benefits.”

I don’t think anyone will argue with Danny there but in these days where football clubs are run as businesses a more thoughtful and realistic approach is required to provide both parties with the security and flexibility they need.

Published by Russell Eynon