Rafa Benitez
From Red to Blue... Liverpool legend Rafa Benitez was always going to struggle as manager of Everton and it came as no surprise when his spell in charge came to an abrupt end. Image Credit: AFP

There are lots of myths in football. ‘The team with the most possession always wins’… or, ‘Home teams get more penalties’… But the biggest myth of all is ‘Managers need to be given time to get it right’. That is utter nonsense. Let me explain.

We are half way through the 2021-22 English Premier League season and already there have been eight managerial casualties. It has been a brutal spell. Several struggling football clubs have decided to part ways with their managers and have brought in new faces hoping it will improve team performances and ultimately results.

Controversial appointment

Now, sacking managers is nothing new but many of the coaches who have bitten the bullet this season hardly had time to get their feet under the desk. Everton got rid of Rafa Benitez after less than seven months in charge at Goodison Park. The fans were against his controversial appointment seeing as he is a Liverpool legend after winning the Champions League with them, and so it comes as no surprise that the Spaniard didn’t last long when the team began to struggle. 1 win in 13 league games was just not good enough. Watford, meanwhile, have now sacked two managers in the same season following the removal first of Xisco Munez and then Claudio Ranieri. Munez was in the job for just seven games while Ranieri took over from him and lasted just 14 games.

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Chopping and changing... Watford replaced Xisco Munez with Caludio Ranieri... and now he's been replaced by Roy Hodgson - and all in the same season!

Now on paper at least, it would appear that the three mentioned gaffers were given the boot rather quickly and may have done better had they been given more, yup, time... I am firmly of the opinion that the clubs made the right decisions. This ‘managers need time’ concept is just propaganda. It is only ever brought up when a new coach is having a poor run of results – but it does not mean he will magically begin to do better if he is given time (unless you are Sir Alex Ferguson, of course).

Bosses that bit the bullet

A new manager who is doing good never needs to be given time because he is already delivering but when a coach is struggling and requests more time it really bothers me. Clearly he is out of his depth, so why should a club retain his services if he can’t do the job? Ferguson was almost given his marching orders at Manchester United when he first took charge and had the Old Trafford club cut ties with the Scot, who knows where they would be now? Would they be the biggest club in world football? Maybe not. United stuck with Ferguson and ultimately he transformed them into winners and they dominated the game under his tutelage. He was afforded time to turn it around and it paid off massively for the club but these days, managers do not get long periods in charge to get their team winning. If they cannot rectify poor results in a month or two then what guarantee is there that they will fix it in a year or more?

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Serial winner... Manchester United could have sacked Sir Alex Ferguson while the Scot was early in his reign at Old Trafford with the Red Devils having lost four out of five matches in December 1989. But they stuck with him and what a great move that turned out to be...

When a manager is underperforming and the team has a downward slide, they never arrest it because more often than not they have been booted out. If a club sticks with them then they risk being dragged further into the mire. When Liverpool hired Jurgen Klopp the team instantly improved. Why was that? Was it down to luck? No. It is because Klopp is one of the best managers in the world and his impact on the team could literally be seen. There was clear positive momentum and Liverpool have now become a dominant force under the German. Before his arrival they were seen as a bit of a soft touch. He has transformed them into serial winners, just as Pep Guardiola has done at Manchester City. These two hit the ground running - in neither case did people ever appeal for them to be given time because they were performing already. So when an inferior manager struggling to get his team up the table asks for more time to get it right, I believe it is just delaying the inevitable.

Key ingredients

Sure, Klopp and Guardiola have spent heavily on bringing the best players to their clubs. But then so have other clubs and yet they are nowhere near as good as City or Liverpool. Money alone does not guarantee success, a proper structure and stability at a football club are key ingredients – not to mention a manager who knows what he is doing.

Jurgen Klopp celebrates the win over Brentford
World beater... Liverpool's German boss Jurgen Klopp is touted as one of the best managers in the world.

It usually goes like this: a manager is hired and he starts well but it eventually goes wrong and he is sacked. Or, he does well and gets poached by a bigger club, or he comes in, does badly and gets sacked. But you hardly ever see him coming in, doing badly, turning it around and doing well. It might have happened back in the day but it just doesn’t happen anymore because patience in football is a commodity that is running dry; managers are there to spark a reaction from their players and get the team winning and if they fail to do that, clubs will not bat an eye-lid in replacing them and hiring someone else who can do the job better.