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Panic button gets pressed too early
1:00pm Tuesday 17th December 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
CHRISTMAS is the season to be jolly. It’s also the time to sack managers.
In the last 48 hours alone, West Brom have parted company with Steve Clarke and Tottenham dispensed with the services of Andre Villas-Boas.
While you can make arguments for and against each decision, there is one theme that is consistent with both — panic.
Tottenham have just been thumped 5-0 by Liverpool, barely a month since being hammered 6-0 at Manchester City.
Despite that, they are only five points shy of the top five in the Premier League. But they are worried that if the current trend continues they will be out of the race for the Champions League spots and the subsequent riches that brings.
At the other end of the table, the Baggies are just two points above the relegation zone and desperate to cling on to their top-flight status and the subsequent riches that brings too.
In each case, the timing is everything. It is no coincidence that clubs make managerial changes at this time of the year.
The transfer window opens at the turn of the year and they will be hoping that a new man at the helm will be able to attract the necessary players to solve the perceived problems.
Never mind, in Tottenham’s case, that Villas-Boas spent the best part of £100million recruiting players in the summer.
When there is money at stake, clubs and their chairmen will do anything in pursuit of it, even if it means parting with yet more cash along the way.
Albion, likewise, will be hoping that Clarke’s successor will be able to tempt players to the club before they are seen as a lost cause.
What Tottenham and West Brom have done is hardly surprising, however. Rationale has long since gone out of the window in the world of football in pursuit of success and survival.
But who is to say that what they have done is wrong? While it may seem brutally unfair, you only have to cast your mind back 12 months to when Southampton sacked Nigel Adkins.
There was outcry at how the Saints had repaid the manager who brought them into the top-flight by casting him out. Few people had heard of Mauricio Pochettino, yet he’s not done such a bad job at St Mary’s has he?
In other words, sometimes a change has to be made for the better, even if it appears plain bonkers at the time. Chelsea have changed managers for a pastime, yet they still win things. They have chosen chaos over stability and aren’t doing too badly.
The modern day manager doesn’t have the luxury of time. It is a results-driven business and the boss lives and dies by them.
Clarke and Villas-Boas have found that out the hard way.
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