For the managers themselves, this means a tough, multi-layered and often frenetic environment. Never have the principles of centredness, self-knowledge, handling pressure and personal renewal been so important. The Centre of Authority. Manchester United today are a worldwide institution and they sold for hundreds of millions of pounds on the stock exchange. If Manchester United spiral down into the second or third divisions of the Football League, then all of this will fly out of the window irrespective of how good they are commercially.
So Alex Ferguson was a key, key figure, because he was the man who governed the core of the business for so long. Everything is guided by what the manager thinks. There has never been an occasion in my time that the board has overruled the manager at any point on how you control the football club. How can you judge a manager if it is not for the fact that he controls the club?
I believe that the manager is a strong guide inside the club. His players must have the feeling that as well as establishing authority, he has complete control. My other big challenge, though, is the different demands on my time. I have time between matches, of course — the question is how best to use it. I like to give of myself and of my coaching experience to the federation and the country. I believe I should be involved in helping all interest groups through coaching schemes and programmes designed to produce coaches for the future. This is true of iconic leaders everywhere, of course — great military leaders, great business leaders or political leaders whose character and philosophy can have a lasting effect on one or more nations.
The coach has become a leader. Now times have changed and you need to win off the pitch as well — by.
If the commercial aspect works, the club generates good revenues, and from that flow better facilities, better staff , better players and then again better revenues for the club. I think that a good club is a club that looks after its players, looks after its people, looks after its employees, its staff and everything.
Its human atmosphere is to me the foundation for success.
And it is the manager who is at the centre of that. The Man in the Chair. Or is it that the owner has the potential to disrupt the smooth running of the club? Either way, if the manager can win the trust of the owner, then he will be given the space and resources to pursue his philosophy. If not, then the owner is likely to intervene. It is, after all, his club. The rise of the powerful owner. The acquisition of Chelsea in by Roman Abramovich triggered across a decade a series of high-profile football club takeovers.
The emergence of Manchester City as a new footballing power in. Similar investments by high-net-worth individuals have taken place at Paris St Germain, Malaga and elsewhere. Other clubs in the Premier League, while not in the hands of a single individual, are owned by large organisations led by salient people. These owner-chairmen control the flow of funds around the club, including all that is needed for transfers and salaries. That period looks to have gone and has been replaced by a generation of people coming in with different motivations.
With some of them it is to make money, with some it is for the glory. To have more money in the league is good because you want to be the strongest league in the world. But it is very important that the structure of the game is not destroyed and that the pressure on salaries does not become ridiculous because the inflation pressure of too much money coming in at one time can be very destabilising for the players.
The Manager: Inside the Minds of Football's Leaders
For example, if a player is paid 1 and then is offered 5 somewhere else, he may want to stay but want 3. Yet, for the managers working with the investment, there is clearly enormous potential to create something special. They changed 12 players.
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They have good ambition. We have to build a team, and the club want to be competitive in Europe.
This is a very good challenge. The owner is young, very ambitious, very calm, not afraid or worried if you. They are very focused on their objective — to be competitive in the future. Then, in the summer, to buy some players to increase the quality of the team, to invest money for the next five years and to build the new training ground.
The objective is very, very clear. This is rare, and I hope that they will stay focused in this way. For a leader, this is extremely empowering. Because he has both clarity and trust, he can pursue his philosophy with confidence, and without looking over his shoulder. This gives purpose and stability to the organisation as a whole. First, it remains a relationship game; and second, the onus — at least initially — is on the owner to get it right. But he had the capacity to have a good, bad or indifferent relationship with his appointed manager — just like any owner today.
What has changed is the scale of wealth some owners bring. But if they are going to have success with their club, they must choose their manager very wisely, work with him and give him the support he needs. They will only get success for themselves through. He is the one who will mould the team, i.
But to be successful, he needs a manager who can share his vision, convey it with clarity and passion, take ownership for outcomes and deliver on all his professional responsibilities in the face of enormous expectation. The nature of the chairman himself is not the only evolution of the last 20 years.
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I think I should be in the team. What am I doing wrong? Very, very few players knock on your door — they all go through their agent now. So agents build relationships with chairmen, not managers. More and more chairmen are choosing players in the transfer window. I wondered after a few months if maybe the team was not clicking, or maybe the players were not playing for me. Particularly in the Barclays Premier League, the players play for the manager in some ways, so I thought that maybe because I had changed a few things they were not playing for us. So I went to the board and I explained that maybe we have to take some action.
We are patient and we will trust you do what you have to do. Because the more the board trusts you, the more assertive and the more strong you will be in your management. For Neil Warnock, the pain comes most of all from not being understood. Yes, they are managers, but they are also fathers, brothers and friends to everyone at the club.
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I have fallen out with a few chairmen in my career, but I only fell out with them when they lied to me. Once somebody lies to me or I lose trust in them, then I can never be committed to that same person again.
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When I left Sheffield United, the chairman — a friend of 17 years, I thought — came out and said on reflection he should have probably changed the manager. I had known this guy for 17 years and I rang him immediately and asked him why he said it.
I told him I had heard it on the radio. Many simply find they have to protect themselves. I thought if I can get sacked by losing in the play-offs … The year I took over, the club had finished fourth from bottom, just stayed up, the first year we finished 11th, the second year we finished third in the play-offs.
We missed out on automatic promotion by a couple of points, we got beaten in the play-offs and I got sacked. So I said to myself if I got back into management I would never stay when it was the right time for me to leave. And I played that out at Bolton and Notts County. I had to put up with it because I was making my way in management.