Biggest myth in football? ‘Managers need to be given time’

Date published: Tuesday 26th November 2019 2:31

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No manager should be ‘given time’
Given all the manager turmoil that’s going on at the moment, a lot of the old “managers need to be given time” propaganda is being trotted out.

This does my head in, and is possibly the biggest myth in football.

Let’s pull it apart a bit.

The idea of a manager needing to be given time is, naturally, only ever floated when a manager is doing poorly.  A new manager who’s doing well never needs to be given time because, of course, they’re already delivering.  The concept then is essentially:

– A manager doing badly will, if given enough time, start to do well

When, historically, has this *ever* happened?

The only instance I can think of is the early years of Alex Ferguson (and even then there were plenty of mitigating circumstances).  Other than that when a manager is underperforming, and has downward momentum, they essentially *never* arrest it.  It’s only a question of when they get sacked, not if, and how far they can drag the club down in the meantime.

Proof of this can be seen in the examples that are normally given to demonstrate the virtues of “giving time”.  Poch and Klopp at Spurs and Liverpool, for instance, are regularly cited.  However they aren’t good examples because, although their teams did indeed improve over the years they were doing well from day one.  In both cases there was clear positive momentum, even when their teams weren’t the finished article.  In fact, in neither case did people ever appeal for them to be “given time”, because they were performing already!

Ultimately there are only three narratives that ever happen with managers:

1 – Comes, does well, eventually it goes south, gets sacked
2 – Comes, does well, gets poached by bigger team / retires
3 – Comes, does badly, gets sacked

Comes, does badly, turns it around and does well —— this just doesn’t happen.

Applying this logic to current clubs, Emery clearly needs to go at Arsenal, but Solskjaer *just about* merits short term persistence, because there are glimmers of positive momentum there compared to the end of Jose’s tenure.

If anyone has any other genuine examples of “giving time” working out, I’d love to hear them.


With all this Emery out stuff going on (please, just leave Mr Emery), I was thinking who would be best option to take over on a temporary basis. The one obvious choice is Freddie Ljunberg.

I remembered his playing days and then found myself struggling in my mind to describe his actual position.
He was like a non stop running false 9 winger midfielder. Too far away from goal to be a forward, too mobile on the wings to be a midfielder but too unpredictable in his position to be a winger.
A midfield attacking libero? God knows, that sounds cool though so I’ll stick with that.

Any other players out there who didn’t fit into one position? LeTessier comes to mind!

Good day!


Why not Allegri?
Ole has only been in the job for a year and should be given at least till the end of the season to right the ship, or at least steady it….. But, if a change does happen, then why all the fuss about Pocchetino!? He is not a proven winner (yes, you are judged as a manager by the number of trophies you win, especially at a big club), so why no mention of Allegri!? Surely he has the experience, knowledge and the ability to attract payers to the club, so in my opinion a much better option than Poch….
Riyaad (Cape Town)


Ole out calls blow my mind
As a United fan this has clearly been a frustrating start to the season. Sitting in mid-table, we can only describe the team as “inconsistent”. But it blows my mind to see so many United fans calling for Oles head already. Yes, the performances are no where near as complete and confident as the Fergie years, but that was never going to be the case. When you step back and look at the bigger picture, the mans been in the job under a year and his actions off the pitch have been superb and exactly what United fans have been asking for ever since SAF retired; he moved out Fellaini quickly, a player who had his strengths (and elbows) but had become the poster boy of an under performing team. In the summer he moved Lukaku on for £75mil… Lukakus scoring record speaks for itself, but sadly so did his first touch and to get £75mil for him was good business, without a doubt. He loaned out Sanchez, another player the fans had turned on after his United career went limp. Selling Sanchez would have been great but getting someone to take on that wage demand was always likely to be tough in Europe. He moved on Smalling, a player that most fans had lost faith in. Yes he’s smashing it in Serie A, (and I love that btw, always seemed like a great guy) but errors had slipped in to his game too often in the Prem and we lost trust in him. He allowed Ander Herrera to move on, probably the most debatable decision, but when we’re not being romantic about it, Ander was getting older and wanted money that he wasn’t deemed worth and with every towering McTominay performance in that holding role, it’s looking like an even better decision. He’s moved out a lot of players that had either a) become symbols of Uniteds recent failures, or b) didn’t fit the young, vibrant fast-paced team he’s building.

And then there’s the inbounds; has a manager ever made 3 signings in one summer that have made such an immediate impact? (Genuine question, not saying Ole is the only one, intrigued to see suggestions from the Mailbox). Harry Maguire is one of the top 5 cbs in the league, and whilst no one is saying he’s comparable with VVD or Laporte, he’s certainly in that next bracket – and when was the last time United had one of the top 5 cbs in the league? Rio? Vidic? AWB is probably the best defensive full back in the league and the stats back that up. If watching Valencia and Young attempt to play full back all these years has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t teach a natural defensive instinct. However if watching the likes of Giggs, Bale, Dani Alves all these years has taught us anything it’s that the attacking element can be developed – expect to see AWB become one of the best rbs in the division in the coming five years. James has started like a man on fire; it’s all well and good being rapid – just ask Dennis Rommedahl – but being in the right place at the right time and making the right decision is something that James clearly has the potential to do. His goals and assists so far have exceeded anything anyone expected from a relatively cheap signing from Swansea. All 3 have a case to be our player of the season so far, along with Rashford.

Criticise United on the pitch all you want, it’s sometimes stagnant, slow, weak. But off the pitch Ole is doing the right things, and that can only be good for the club in the long run. The performances will come, as more deadwood is shipped out and more effective players come through the door. I’m well aware that performances on the pitch are what matter most to us fans, but don’t be so short-sighted to write us off, it’s clearly a work in progress.
Craig (outplayed in 70 mins, conceded 2, turn it on for 9 mins, scored 3)


Solskjaer is a yes man
I’m reading a lot of utd fans thoughts on should Ole stay and thought I’d chip in. I believe ole should be replaced by Poch and the sooner the better. Firstly Utd are financially one of the biggest teams in the world and with every possible advantage to have they have it, so this Utd are a work in progress doesn’t wash with me. Does Real Madrid ever claim to be a work in progress, no, because they’re Real Madrid. Utd have became a team to pity under Solskjaer, poor Utd, they really are trying. I believe this to be poor stance to take. In my opinion a super club like Utd need to hire the best possible manager out there and load him with cash to spend. If the board get the manager right the cash spent would be in safe hands. We’ve tried that with Jose and looked what happened I hear you say. Jose personality was not right for utds squad which is another conversation entirely but that doesn’t mean every top manager is going to fail and instead appoint a guy who has little to no experience.

On to the football, I cannot see any patterns of play and Utd basically can only score if a counter attack is handed to them on a plate. Do the 20 times champions not deserve a little better than that?

The squad, Utd fans like to think ole is giving youth a chance. It’s more the youth are bailing Utd out after years of poor decisions. Rashford on 200k + , de gea 300k +. This limits the type of player you can buy. Anyone proven is going to demand parody with the top earners as they are not that good. For example if a top striker who can prove he scores 20 goals a season. That’s more important than a goalkeeper so cough up the money. Solskjaer is doing it out of necessity not choice. So Utd plan to give good young players stupid contracts instead because senior stupid contracts are just too expensive, even for Utd.

To summarise Solskjaer is a yes man, who does what the board says. His tactics of counter attack football is outdated and not good enough for a club of utds size. Spent £130 mil on a very average cb ( you could find any amount as good for less than half the money) and a rb from the 90’s. When the modern game is evolving fullback roles, Utd kick it old school, head scratcher. Pochetino would bring Utd back to relevance, playing wise and transfer wise. Hopefully soon because if I hear ole say that wasn’t a Manchester Utd performance again……


How quickly people forget…
Having read your top ten Premier League players of the decade it just dawned on me on how bad this past decade of football was! Don’t get me wrong, Aguero oozes class, Silva is magic, and the rest of them too. However, compare that with the previous decade and you are having a laugh. Commercial Football sucks, bring back English Football. One last thing, how the hell is Wayne Rooney not in your list!! How quick people forget.
ZeeJayEff (Ashley OUT) Bahrain


Nice to see you putting James Milner on your list for players of the decade. I know some will be objecting to it, but I think it’s right to recognise his stability – few players have been around for all 10 years and remain relevant in the sport.

He’s also won both the Champions League and Premier League – only person to do that with PL teams this decade aside from that Chelsea bunch.

The only key name I feel got overlooked is Gary Cahill. For similar reasons to Milner, he’s been a mainstay, won an insane amount and – until recently – been a mainstay of a brilliant team. Also a PFA team of the year regular, and still going at Palace.

But in any sense, nice you didn’t just include Suarez, Bale, de Bruyne etc who are unquestionably brilliant yet don’t quite have the ‘of the decade’ same level of ability. Assume Sterling also just missed out!
Jonny Kay


Stop calling them Sheffield
This bugged me yesterday and I let it go. But there it is again this mornings mailbox. Stop reffering to the team doing irritatingly well in the Premier League as “Sheffield”. I know there’s a blindness spread by Sky to every club below the top 20, but there are two league teams in Sheffield. And Sheffield are a incredibly famous club in their own right (oldest in the world). But they didn’t get a draw against Manchester on Sunday.
Tom, London

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