Guest Post - Getting the Right Man In: Journeys on the Managerial Merry-Go-Round

Daniel Storey, of Football365 and Sky Sports, deconstructs football's recruitment processes...

The Chase
Firstly, it would be foolish to even attempt to recruit a new manager without drawing up a shortlist of names.

The recruitment process is a two-way street. Managers (who should more readily be referred to as gaffers or bosses) can submit their CVs into the club, and it is usual for a chairman to announce the exact numbers of applications received – “Look how popular our job is!!!" they almost boast. A new PR tactic is to also release a feel-good news story about an application received from a six-year-old child, written in crayon (or from a Football Manager addict). In response, some will remark that “he’d probably do a better job than [insert hapless previous incumbent]".

There is no specific job site for football managers, but luckily they can all be found at the fairground on the Managerial Merry-Go-Round™, where average bosses can flutter their eyelashes at onlooking clubs. Seasoned managers know that stepping or climbing onto and from the MMGR is amateur: one must hop on/off.

The Selection
One of the perks of being a football manager is that they can throne themselves in a managerial hotseatWhile this has no connotation of temperature, we know only too well that a bad run will see them feeling the heat.

The cliché used upon appointment depends largely on the type of manager. Experienced or ageing players are journeymen, of course, but a journeyman manager is rare, usually instead referred to as a wise old head. If his appointment is underwhelming, he will inevitably have "a point to prove". Young managers,
meanwhile, will be fresh-faced or fearless - some may even warrant "breath of fresh air" status.

A returning manager will have unfinished business, and rather bizarrely aim to pick up where they left off. Given that they ‘left off’ by leaving the club, this could surely lead to a weird cycle of rejoining and leaving. The use of "coming home" depends largely on the self-inflated opinion the individual has of his popularity.

The Reveal
While new players are presented to or paraded in front of the media, managers are always unveiled, like a priceless Greek statue. The owner or chairman of the club will attempt to persuade cynics that the new boss is the right man for the job and will be looking to "take the club forward". 

The manager will then speak, and will almost immediately state that the job was too good to turn down (some may even go as far as to say that "it ticked all the right boxes"). Whether this refers to the club or his financial recompense is left unsaid. The club will be referred to as exciting and ambitious, but the greatest praise is reserved for the "passionate fans" (these are, of course, the twelfth man). For "passionate", we can read ‘hopelessly addicted’ (sorry, that should read long-suffering).

Initially, the aim will be to put down a marker but the use of feet will become evident and crucial - putting your foot down can be interchanged with stamping one’s authority, all in an attempt to hit the ground running, although in this last case feet may be replaced by wings to get off to a flyer.

Finally, new managers leave the press conference to enjoy their honeymoon period which will be declared over immediately after the first piece of bad news. One hopes that they can at least rely on an upturn in fortunes hailed as the "new manager effect", a mathematical formula that ensures that the manager will win his first game in charge.

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