The insecurity of managing a football team
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Imagine a chief executive officer (CEO) being fired for the company missing its first-month target. Or the CEO of a bank on a three-year contract who delivers the expected 20% growth in Year 1 but is sacked at the first sign of a challenge in Year 2. It happens all the time to managers in club football, where the phrase ‘job security’ is an oxymoron.
On 11 September, English club Crystal Palace fired Frank de Boer after four matches—zero wins and goals scored—in a 38-match season. Last week, Bayern Munich did the same to Carlo Ancelotti, four months after he led the storied club to the German league title in his first season and six games into the second.
More will follow. A report released by the Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) in January 2017 compiled manager turnover in club football for the 2014-15 season, including the post-season summer. It shows that in 44 of the 60 tier-I and tier-II European leagues, at least half the teams change managers. Among major tier-I leagues, Turkey and Greece changed the most, and France the least.
Yet, those managing in Europe are better off than the set of 26 non-European football leagues for which Uefa collated data, including in South America, Africa and the Middle East. In Costa Rica, every club effected a managing change. In Brazil, that figure was 90% and an average turnover of three managers per team.
Yet, there’s a silver lining. Low tolerance levels means there’s always openings for good managers. And, if he wants it, Ancelotti—who has now been sacked by Parma, Juventus, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern–will be back soon.
Data Source: Uefa Club Licensing Benchmarking Report, Financial Year 2015
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