Clubs urged to ditch 'short-term' policy over managers

WITH a number of high-profile Premier League managers currently fearing for their jobs, the League Managers' Association last night voiced their displeasure with the "short-termism" shown by clubs.

Chelsea's Carlo Ancelotti, Liverpool's Roy Hodgson, Aston Villa's Gerard Houllier and West Ham's Avram Grant are all reported to be under pressure following a string of disappointing results, while seven Football League managers have lost their jobs in the last week.

Twenty nine managers have left their posts this season already, 19 by way of dismissal, while 21 coaches have also been sacked as a result.

In an open letter released by the LMA last night, chief executive Richard Bevan has urged clubs to stop making managers "scapegoats".

He said: "The figures actually serve to highlight the continued chronic short-termism in football manager employment.

"Statistical evidence suggests that the gains from changing football managers are marginal, if indeed there are any at all, and without doubt the sacking of managers is a costly business to football clubs.

"Bridgewater (2010) suggests the short-term 'honeymoon' effect of changing manager has historically brought an average 2.5 points for Premier League clubs, a benefit quickly lost as a team's performance dips back some 12 games after the change to a level below that achieved before the change.

"In recent seasons and recent weeks, a number of managers have been dismissed for losing a handful of games in what might well be short-term blips within the normal range, rather than the sustained downturn seen in the past before a managerial change.

"It is clearly the decision of club chairmen whom they hire and fire and when they choose to do this, but the statistics show that a club is likely to end up worse off when they sack their manager, they have less points and are often significantly out of pocket due to monies spent on compensation and paying up contracts.

"Clubs in lower leagues simply cannot afford to keep sacking managers. Short-termism does not work. In football, there is an incomprehensible belief that the continued sacrificing of the football manager, the 'scapegoat' and installing another will turn around a football club's performance.

"The LMA will continue to protect its members when they are sacked, by ensuring that clubs agree to appropriate compensation. However, we will also continue to clearly state the case against the short-term 'hiring and firing' culture that is endemic."

Such has been the pressure on the four Premier League managers in question that bookmakers have started running special bets on them all being dismissed before the Premier League schedule resumes next weekend.