When Is The Right Time To Change?

It is a tricky old game that football malarkey isn’t it?

Especially when you take the helm as a manager of a football club and also the running of a football club must be extremely difficult. Even more so when it comes to the arguably the most difficult decision of them all – When is the right time to change your manager?

There surely cannot be a correct answer obviously but there have to be times when it is less appropriate and times when it seems blatantly more appropriate and necessary to change the man at the top.

This week saw Middlesbrough (my team) relieve Gareth Southgate (pictured below) of his position as Manager making him the 13th managerial dismissal this season, compared with 7 at the same stage last season.

The timing of Southgate’s dismissal was bizarrely decided several weeks ago and executed after a mid-week home win against Derby County. Though many a Middlesbrough fan seems happy that the dismissal had come the decision hadn’t proved easy for chairman, Steve Gibson to follow through.

My personal opinion is – friction had developed between club, manager and fans and this always proves a difficult situation to resolve and this was the only solution plus I believe we needed a more experienced man at the helm, hopefully this will be proven right.

A study four years ago showed that between the inauguration of the Premier League in August 1992 and January 2004 there were no fewer than 678 managerial changes in English professional football, averaging at 41 per season and an astonishing 536 of those changes were actually sackings.

When looking at several clubs namely Manchester United and Arsenal it is clearly proven that continuity breeds success whereas the ever changing incumbent of hot seats at clubs such as Crystal Palace and Newcastle United to name but two, leads to inconsistent nothingness.

Several managers as I write are under increasing pressure namely Roy Keane (pictured below), Rafa Benitez and Brendan Rodgers are amongst those feeling the pressure at the moment.

But surely pressure is part and parcel of the job they choose to fill. It has to be part of the so-called buzz these guys get from managing a football club. This will be finely balanced with the joyous feeling of success as and when it happens.

The pressure will be lifted should a win or two come for those mentioned clubs.

Take two clubs, one very close to my heart (Middlesbrough) and the local rivals we love to hate (Newcastle United). In a period from the start of the Premier League both clubs have experienced european football, cup finals, regular top flight finishes, big name signings and Middlesbrough in that time won a major trophy (The Carling Cup).

During that period Newcastle have had 11 managers (including caretakers), yet Middlesbrough have only had four managers, it will be five once a new manager is announced in the coming week.

Both clubs find themselves in the same division having suffered relegation last season and they are only separated by one point.

What does this prove?

There will always be a right time to change your manager, getting it right is the hardest part of a chairman’s job description but changing your manager on a regular basis has shown to not be the sole reason a club struggles or succeeds.

Take Chelsea in this argument – 4 managers since Jose Mourinho departed yet still successful.

Finally we the fans always speak from the heart and sometimes this can cloud the judgement we have those running the club and the team, but if we trust them to do this it will work.

Take that advice from a Middlesbrough fan who in my opinion have the best chairman in the business, but at times even I doubt his motives, something I shouldn’t be doing.

Thanks for reading as usual, it is appreciated.



P.s. A massive well done to Jenson Button on winning the Formula One World Championship last weekend by finishing fifth in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Also a huge well done to all at Brawn GP on their amazing first season in the sport.

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