Football is being damaged by hiring and firing culture, says LMA chief


The constant hiring and firing of managers is “severely damaging” to English football, according to League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan.

Notts County and Nottingham Forest were both found to have had 40 managers between them in the last 20 years, something the LMA feel is affecting the game.

A Press Association Sport study found Premier League and Football League clubs used an average of 12 managers between October 1997 and November 1 this year.

Richard Bevan, chief executive of the League Managers’ Association

The Magpies had 23 in that period, while Forest got through 17 and have both changed their manager at least once this calendar year with Kevin Nolan and Mark Warburton the current incumbents.

Bevan also feels that the theory of changing a manager suddenly turns the fortunes of a club around is far from true.

Arsene Wenger has managed Arsenal throughout the study period, with Morecambe using only three managers and Manchester United four, but Bevan believes clubs are too quick to pull the trigger.

“The LMA continues to view the hire-and-fire culture, endemic in football, as severely damaging to the game. It causes a series of negative consequences and we will continue to be vocal on this issue,” Bevan told Press Association Sport.

Stuart Pearce was sacked by Forest in 2015

“Firstly, there is a misconception that changing a manager consistently leads to an improvement in results. Whilst it is often well publicised when an under-performing side regain form under new management, this is rarely sustained over long periods and quite often results revert to type within a few games.

“Consistently dismissing managers can create an environment of instability within the club. Inevitably, constant changes to the management and coaching staff leads to instability within the playing staff and can have a knock-on effect throughout the organisation. This also breeds a culture of uncertainty within the incoming staff.”

The study featured managerial tenures as short as Billy McKinlay’s nine days at Watford in 2014 and Bevan, without referencing specific cases, continued: “The direct impact on the manager, the coaches and their families cannot be underestimated.

“These individuals are dedicated to football and treating the talent within our game in such a disposable way will have longer-term consequences, including making the profession less attractive.”

Current Notts County manager Kevin Nolan

Though he did not make the list of the five shortest reigns, summer appointment Frank de Boer was sacked by Palace just four games into this season after being allowed to expensively reshape the squad in pursuit of a new style of play.

Bevan, again speaking generally rather than about a particular club, called for improved recruitment processes to eliminate expensive mis-steps.

“The game must engage with majority shareholders more regularly and advocate for a more long-term approach and better processes with regards to the recruitment and retention of managers,” he said.

“The LMA encourages the game to implement comprehensive recruitment processes, which will ensure appointments are the best fit for both club and incoming manager. It is also important for managers and their employers to agree on short, medium and long-term goals which are realistically attainable.”

Former Nottingham Forest and Notts County bosses Billy Davies and Paul Ince

The LMA has its own part to play in creating an environment for managers to thrive and Bevan said: “Through the LMA institute of leadership and high performance, we will continue to educate managers and coaches, equipping them with the skills to be successful and preparing them for the realities of the job.

“The LMA will continue to provide guidance and mentoring opportunities for managers and coaches, calling on the expertise of senior managers and leading industry professionals to ensure managers get the best possible support.”



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