Jol’s Sacking Confirms A Sinister New Trend

First Mourinho, now Jol. The most successful managers in their respective club’s recent history, sacked by wealthy club owners who expect too much. And want it too soon. Championship Manager Chairmanship, trumping potentially Champions League Management.

I’d be surprised if there was any fan, of any club, who didn’t in his heart of hearts believe that his team “belonged” in the Premiership’s top four. But the trouble with the top four is that there are only four of them. How close Jol came.

Jol, like Mourinho, is a victim of the “European” club structure – where the coach rubs shoulders and shares power with a “director of football” and, in this case, it seems, sinister others. Jol wanted a good centre-back to cover for Ledley King – and a defensive midfielder – and got Darren Bent. Both Bent and Jol deserved better.

The Premiership has become a difficult place for English players, for British players. Now it is becoming a difficult place for proper football management.

This in a week when Sir Clive Woodward, personification of the modern, forward-looking coach, criticized complicated management structures – “There can only be one leader in the dressing room.”

Management has always been an insecure job, of course. Recently, it looked as though some sanity had broken out – there have been fewer sackings of the traditional Sammy Lee variety, and managers were being given longer to develop their teams. But then, there were fewer appointments of the Sammy Lee variety.

What’s new is that we are seeing the slow, deliberate undermining of good, successful managers, by chairmen and boards, using European-style management structures as political tools. Jol’s situation, and Mourinho’s, was different from that faced by Rafa Benitez, behind whom the first carrion birds are beginning to circle.

Bolton should have waited another week..

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3 responses to “Jol’s Sacking Confirms A Sinister New Trend

  1. I don’t know about this. I know SCW (pbuh) won a World Cup, but the realities of club sport are somewhat different to internationals.

    One of the most consistently successful NFL clubs of recent years has been the New England Patriots. They adopted the “European” structure of management some time ago, mainly because it became apparent that as the money issues (in their case with the introduction of the salary cap) got tighter, there was no reason to assume that a good pitch/tactics manager had the financial acumen to do the other side of the business.

    In fact, ironically, it’s the continentals like Mourinho and Jol (and the survivor being Wenger) who least need assistance in this regard, whereas some of the British managers more obviously need help.

    What’s critical is that once you split a role into two, the two have to have a proper working relationship, complete with conflict resolution process and have to have similar philosophies of operation. And you also now need to find two talented individuals instead of just one…

    All the same, this “one leader” stuff is the organisational equivalent of 4-4-2 with a big man and whack it up, long ball style. As such we should treat it with more care.

  2. Yes, but. At Chelsea, the decisions as to which players to purchase were also taken out of the coach’s hands. And his actual coaching was being thoroughly interfered with by the end. Jol lost control over which players were brought in, and was all but emasculated as a coach, we learn, long before his eventual defenestration. That’s what I mean by the use of the European structure as a political tool to undermine capable coaches.

    “One leader” in SCW’s phrase refers to one voice in the coaching arena, and neither Mourinho nor Jol were allowed that.

  3. This all sounds a lot like oil and gas contracting. Perhaps football is simply becoming like any other business?