The Managerial Merry-Go-Round Thread

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Bodacious Benny
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Re: The Managerial Merry-Go-Round Thread

Post by Bodacious Benny » Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:15 am

Spurs are in talks with everyone <laugh>
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Re: The Managerial Merry-Go-Round Thread

Post by overseasTOON » Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:54 am

Celtic appoint someone from Home and Away.

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Re: The Managerial Merry-Go-Round Thread

Post by Bodacious Benny » Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:05 pm

From links to Benitez and Howe to getting him <laugh>
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Re: The Managerial Merry-Go-Round Thread

Post by CIH » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:32 pm

Good write up on the Athletic comparing the succession plans put in place in German club football to the seeming dartboard-esque decision making at English clubs. I enjoyed it, anyway. It's well worth a quid for the subscription, some good stuff on there.

https://theathletic.com/2644468/2021/06 ... er-league/
Oliver Kay, The AthleticShow

Bundesliga clubs make changing managers look easy, so why is it so hard in the Premier League?

On April 17, Hansi Flick announced he would be parting company with Bayern Munich at the end of the season. The club’s hierarchy were taken aback — not by his intention, which matched theirs at a time when relationships behind the scenes had reached breaking point, but by what they called his “unilateral communications”.

Within 10 days, though, Bayern announced that Julian Nagelsmann would be arriving from RB Leipzig as Flick’s successor. Two days after that, Leipzig confirmed they were replacing Nagelsmann with Red Bull Salzburg’s Jesse Marsch. In announcing March’s departure, Salzburg also revealed his successor: Matthias Jaissle, who had been coaching their feeder club FC Liefering.

All of that happened in 10 days. It helps enormously, of course, that Leipzig, Salzburg and Liefering are all part of the same Red Bull football network, but still, it was swift, efficient work that reflected the value of long-term planning. Leipzig always knew Nagelsmann would leave one day and the succession plan was well established, just as it was further down the line in Austria.

There has been a second “chain” in the Bundesliga this year. Borussia Dortmund had been under the temporary leadership of Edin Terzic since Lucien Favre was sacked in December, but on February 15, they announced that Marco Rose would be arriving from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer; on April 13, Gladbach announced a deal to replace Rose with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Adi Hutter; on May 26, Frankfurt confirmed Wolfsburg’s Oliver Glasner as their new head coach; on June 2, Wolfsburg revealed Glasner would be succeeded by former Hole land midfielder Mark van Bommel, who had been working as Bert van Marwijk’s assistant with the United Arab Emirates national team.

Each of those clubs had a vision, a strategy, a succession plan. Some of their plans were less specific at first, but in just about every case there was evidence of joined-up thinking. Wolfsburg were at the bottom of that particular chain, a sequence of events leading to the departure of the coach who had just led them to Champions League qualification, but still, they appointed a successor within a week, with managing director Jorg Schmadtke saying, “We were very interested in Mark van Bommel and when we got to talk to him, it confirmed the impression that he would be a perfect fit for our club. He was our first choice.”

It sounds a world away from the chaotic managerial searches we have witnessed in the Premier League over recent weeks. Tottenham Hotspur sacked Jose Mourinho on April 19 and have gone from Flick, Erik ten Hag and others via the contrasting figures of Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte before settling, it seems, on Paulo Fonseca (who, incidentally, is the man Mourinho has replaced at Roma); Crystal Palace have had months (arguably years) to prepare for life after Roy Hodgson but have found themselves oscillating between candidates as varied as Sean Dyche, Nuno Espirito Santo, Valerien Ismael and Steve Cooper; Everton, reeling from Carlo Ancelotti’s departure, still appear not to have worked out what they want, never mind who they want.


Wolverhampton Wanderers filled their vacancy quickly, but did that reflect a Bundesliga-style succession plan? Or was it something else? The talk around the time of Nuno’s departure was of conducting a thorough process, but, like much else at Molineux these days, the swift appointment of Bruno Lage left you wondering just how far that process extended beyond Jorge Mendes’ extensive list of contacts and clients.

It is not purely a question of the amount of time taken. It would be more than acceptable to take weeks over an appointment if there were signs that the process was a careful, considered one.

Tottenham executive chairman Daniel Levy has previously been known to line up new managerial appointments in advance (replacing George Graham with Glenn Hoddle in 2001, Jacques Santini with his assistant Martin Jol in 2004, Jol with Juande Ramos in 2007, Ramos with Harry Redknapp in 2008, Pochettino with Mourinho in 2019). As that decidedly mixed bag demonstrates, a swift appointment does not necessarily equate to a good one.

But the big difference between those appointments made in the Bundesliga over recent months and the ongoing sagas in the Premier League is that the German clubs know what they want. They have succession plans based on a vision and a footballing identity or playing style which has been established over time. And there is no appetite here to go on a tangent about the merits of the Bundesliga’s 50+1 system, which means that clubs are run by people who tend to have built up an understanding of both the sport and the industry, but it is certainly fair to say German clubs tend to operate with a clear long-term vision of the type that is still disappointingly rare in English football.

Of course, Everton were taken by surprise when Ancelotti left for Real Madrid so abruptly, just days after a meeting with director of football Marcel Brands about their summer transfer strategy. But shouldn’t there have been at least a vague succession plan in place? Or at least, from the moment it became apparent that Ancelotti was leaving, a clear view of what type of manager or coach they were looking for?

It quickly emerged that Everton were interested in finding out whether their former manager David Moyes could be persuaded to reject the new contract he has been offered at West Ham United to return to Goodison Park. (Apparently not.) There have since been talks with Nuno, while the merits of Rafael Benitez, Roberto Martinez and Graham Potter have also been discussed. The name of Vitor Pereira, who was continually pushed to Everton by intermediaries before they appointed Ancelotti in January 2020, as well as those of Christophe Galtier, Ralf Rangnick and Rudy Garcia, are never far away either. Eclectic would be a nice word to describe their list of candidates.

What is the Everton vision, though? How can a manager search on one hand take in Nuno and Benitez, whose approaches are based around a highly structured defensive system, and on the other hand take in Martinez and Potter, who are advocates of creative, possession-based football and a softer, more collegiate style of management? It all seems to reflect what Greg O’Keeffe and Patrick Boyland wrote earlier this week about a club that hired Brands to implement a long-term approach to identifying and developing young talent but which reverts too often to the whims of Farhad Moshiri, an owner too easily impressed by big-name players and coaches and the big promises made by their agents.

That type of ideological conflict is in evidence at Palace too. Inside Selhurst Park, they have long held a notion of building towards a change of direction in terms of recruitment and playing style — the type that they briefly tried and very quickly abandoned after appointing Frank de Boer in 2016 — which has been reflected in their interest in candidates such as Ismael, Cooper and Frank Lampard. And yet Nuno’s sudden, unexpected availability sent them off in a completely different direction before negotiations broke down earlier this week. Now, somehow, they find themselves back at square one.

Then there is the West Bromwich Albion experience. Chris Wilder quickly emerged as the preferred choice of the club’s executives following their relegation from the Premier League and discussions were progressing well before his proposed appointment was vetoed by owner Guochuan Lai, who was concerned by reports of his stormy relationship with the hierarchy at Sheffield United. A deal was then lined up with David Wagner, only for the former Huddersfield Town and Schalke to end up at Swiss club Young Boys.

It often used to feel like it came down to structural issues and an old-fashioned way of thinking, but most of these Premier League clubs have at least one person in place to work on strategic and long-term planning. Whether the title is director of football (Brands at Everton), sporting director (Dougie Freedman at Palace), technical director (Scott Sellars at Wolves) or technical and sporting director (Luke Dowling at West Brom), these are people who have been hired to implement football strategy on behalf of boards whose expertise lies elsewhere. But how much influence do sporting directors hold in these matters? As much as their chairmen or their owners? As much as the various agents who have the ear of so many chairmen and owners? It appears not.

It is just so unimpressive, the way we are seeing clubs thrashing around in search of answers they should have worked out well in advance. It looks so reactive. At no point in recent weeks have Tottenham, Palace, Everton or West Brom appeared in control of their process. Wolves’ process certainly appeared controlled enough — but whether by the club or by Mendes, it was not entirely clear.

In Germany, by contrast, it looks so rational, so mature, so measured, even when it comes to the disappointment of losing their coach to a rival club. There is always a succession plan — even if, in Dortmund’s case, it required a longer wait than would have desired. Further down the chain, pride was swallowed, professional-sounding statements were issued and replacements quickly identified, approach and secured. When the German clubs make the whole process look so straightforward, you have to wonder why so many Premier League clubs make it look so hard.

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