Under pressure Premier League managers are at the whims of their owners.

Photo of author

By Creative Media News

An international break can be a perilous period for club managers under intense strain. During the recent string of Nations League matches and friendlies, substitutions were anticipated. Even on the morning of the Queen’s burial, there was widespread speculation that Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper would be stripped of his duties. According to the rumor mill, the reason the announcement was postponed was out of respect for Her Majesty.

Cooper retains his position as Forest’s manager and will lead his team back to the Premier League. On Monday, he will shake hands with Brendan Rodgers, another manager whom WhatsApp and social media ITKs (“In-the-Knows”) indicated had been given his cards.

Under pressure premier league managers are at the whims of their owners.
Under pressure premier league managers are at the whims of their owners.

While Watford followed up their end of the bargain by dismissing Rob Edwards, the top division’s frenzied sack race has halted. The departures of Scott Parker from Bournemouth and Thomas Tuchel from Chelsea were both the result of conflict between owner and manager. More than performance, owner whims have become the leading cause of managerial exits.

Cooper’s pressure after ending Forest’s 23-year exile from the Premier League highlights the irrelevance of managers in this day of all-powerful billionaires and inflated egos. Forest’s difficulties assimilating the 23 players brought in by owner Evangelos Marinakis and his operatives were blamed for the widely rumored firing that never occurred.

The days when a club’s manager was the most significant individual have long since passed. The super-agents who oversee the lives of top players are frequently closer to owners than the sporting directors to whom managers are typically accountable.

Managing upwards can necessitate joining a long line. Only the modern greats Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool, Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, and possibly Antonio Conte at Tottenham might be compared to the leading policymakers at their respective clubs.

Delivering major objectives provides little protection for the remainder. Parker was released by Bournemouth’s outgoing owner Maxim Demin, who financed the club’s ascent from the lower league to the Premier League. Parker was promoted to the Premier League last season.

Parker’s dismissive assertions that his squad was too small for the division, a blatant criticism of Demin’s spending, expedited his dismissal, even though the 9-0 defeat at Liverpool was damaging.

Tuchel was the winning coach of the Champions League who led Chelsea back into the competition after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the United Kingdom government.

Tuchel stated on 19 August, “You know how happy I am to be here and how much I like it,” yet he was fired on 7 September, with Chelsea officials revealing that the German’s fate had been decided even before the loss to Dinamo Zagreb.

The primary reason for Tuchel’s dismissal was his 100-day connection with the club’s owner. “We just weren’t sure if Thomas felt the same way we did,” Todd Boehly stated during the same Salt Conference session where he pooh-poohed the idea of a Premier League all-star game.

“This is a club where I felt at home, both professionally and personally,” Tuchel wrote in his sole public response to the loss of the lifestyle he cherished at the Cobham training complex’s environs.

Privately, Tuchel’s distress was likely mitigated by a £13 million severance payment and the opportunities that are expected to present themselves. Almost immediately, he was linked to Bayern Munich, where Julian Nagelsmann is under fire, and La Gazzetta Dello Sport ranked him first among the top 12 jobless managers, ahead of Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane.

The fact that Claudio Ranieri, 70, is ranked sixth by La Gazzetta, one spot behind Paulo Sousa, who was last seen at Flamengo in Brazil after managing five clubs for seven years, indicates that top-tier managers are in short supply, something Boehly may discover if he loses patience with Graham Potter.

Being fired need not be an entirely negative outcome. Positive payments provide managers with financial independence. Eventually, fresh opportunities will become available. With two promotions, Parker heads the list of aggressive Championship clubs, probably alongside Sean Dyche. Cooper, if and when he leaves Forest, is renowned for his considerable coaching ability. If the circumstances had been different, he could have replaced Potter at Brighton.

The fact that Rodgers at Leicester and Bruno Lage at Wolves, about whom talk abounds, remain in their positions is indicative of the Premier League’s ties to geopolitics and economics that transcend football.

The estimated family fortune of Leicester’s chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, fell from $3.7bn in 2020 to $1.7bn this summer when the epidemic devastated their King Power duty-free business. Fosun International, the Chinese business that owns Wolves, owes £34 billion due to the collapse of the Chinese real estate industry. On balance sheets that already include considerable deficits, firing and hiring managers is an expensive endeavor.

Rodgers has been as forthright and controversial as Parker regarding Leicester’s transfer policy, and despite a worse start to the season than Derby’s 11-point 2007-08 campaign, he remains in command. Why the stalemate?

A deal that extends to 2025 and a rumored £10 million buyout would be harsh for a team that is anticipated to incur significant financial losses in 2021-22. Despite Wolves scoring only three goals, Lage’s contract runs until 2024. Being a client of Fosun’s football advisor, Jorge Mendes brings protection.

Can these conditions continue? Wolves were similarly patient with Nuno Espirito Santo, another client of Mendes, but another witching hour is looming for other managers.

Last season, Watford began a string of dismissals on October 3 that claimed five more managers by November 21. And a season cut in half by the World Cup provides a six-week international break for millionaires to realize that their manager does not share their perspective.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content