Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Reasons for sacking the manager

Danny Pugsley makes a fundamentally important point on Bitter and Blue:
It is now too late to rescue the miserable away form of this season (even if we were to win out), but whilst the calls for Hughes's head are resurfacing, it is not the results away from home, or even finishing in a worse league position than last season that will do for Hughes if he is sacked, as there has been plenty of opportunity this season when results (and league position) reached their nadir.

If Hughes is to be sacked, then it will be because the owners do not have the confidence that he can deliver what they expect the club to achieve, that they feel he is not the man who can take us to the next level and crack the top four and beyond. [Emphasis added]
This is absolutely key. Sacking a manager should not be simply a punishment for bad performance, just as keeping a manager should not be a reward for good performance. Rather, decisions on a manager's future ought to be made with the long term interest of the club in mind. This is why Everton were right not to sack David Moyes despite their finishing seventeenth in 2003/04. He could have been dismissed as punishment for failure, but Bill Kenwright recognised that a manager of his class was still the right man for the job - and so he has proved.

There is a legitimate case for sacking Mark Hughes in the summer - I certainly don't agree with it but it does have some strong points. But to be credible, that argument must be that he is not the man to improve the club's position in the future, rather than simply arguing from desert. The question, then, concerns the extent to which this year's disappointing performance informs us of Hughes' ability to take the club on next season. And as sub-par as 38 points from 31 games is, I still think he's the right man for the job next season.

NB For a very astute take on reasons for and against sacking Hughes, check out nb's comment on this post from earlier on Monday. It presents an interesting dichotomy between the emotional case for Hughes and the rational case against.


Gary Nolan said...

I absolutely don't think Mark Hughes should be sacked. There was a period this season where I thought maybe it was best he goes, but the things he said would happen with him in charge, you can see that they are beginning to happen.

He has signed some excellent players and I would like to see him get another full season and a full summer to prepare without disruption, I.E a take over.

We also need some continuity at the club and seems as he hasn't done terrible I think keeping him is the best option.

Lets face it I think because we have actually got to a European Cup quarter final, instead of dreaming about it, we forget how much of an achievement that is. It would have been a dream for me to see City in a European Cup quarter final in my life time ( and I am only young) considering our current history, so Hughes hasn't done too bad atall as far as I am concerned.

Wigan Blue said...

Reasons for sacking the manager:

Weighed against his ability to sign utilitarian players (except Berti, Tal Ben Haim & Bellamy), plus the odd shining star (SWP & Robinho) are:

Strategy. 4-1-4-1 (early and successful) 4-2-3-1 (later and not). No variation. Seems surprised that anyone should seem to think that there could be.

Tactics. Haven't seen any this season.

Playing players out of position. Robinho, SWP, Elano.

Playing players out of position on the wrong side of the field. Richards, Zabaleta, SWP.

Lame excuses. "We were a little bit short of weight" - after spending £100 million.

Blaming the players. Sorry - unforgiveable.

Crippling the players. Never seen so many training injuries.

Apart from that he's fine. Give him another ten years. My son might live long enough to see us win something...

pjdemers said...

I think another factor to be considered is our collective expectations as fans. I do wonder despite claims to the contrary ( I definitely include myself) we are impatient because of (1) the huge amount of money invested in City (the shrill MSM media pieces certainly don't do us any favors) and (2) thirty-two years of, let's face it, underachieving. combine factors 1 & 2 and I think you'll see where I'm going with this.

Recently I read some interesting comments by Jo about how he felt he was being fairly untreated. importantly he stressed that he was given very little time to adapt and when he was dropped he was given little explanation.

I for one was not impressed with his performances but I do wonder if I was now being impatient. I recall being very unimpressed with Abedayor at Arsenal his first season and look at him now. It often does take many a player a year to adjust to the EPL. Our sudden slide in late november probably didn't help him as we were too precariously close to relegation. at the time all I could ask myself was how a team with players like SWP, Robinho, Elano, Ireland and the like be so low in the table. I do believe it was a combination of factors 1 & 2 on my part.

while our away form has been equally dreadful this season it certainly appears to bean inherited problem from the previous season. we have to remember that this a huge transition period and Sparky does look to be trying to remedy this as i agree with him and Robinho that it seems to be a psychological problem.

As Gary Nolan (& JPB) correctly point out, the actual signings Hughes has made have been good (I exclude Jo and TBH as they weren't his signings). combine his signings with players like SWP, Ireland, and Bojinov he speak with complete reverence of the Sparky and you'll start to find more reasons for optimism.

I'd also point out that one of the things to consider about Hughes is that he has always been a consummate professional (particularly as a player).
His track record with both Wales and Blackburn is commendable (though he did take time to find his feet his first season at Blackburn). Remember it took Fergusen four years to win anything at the Swamp.

Most importantly Sparky appears to be trying to install the training methods (and winning mental attitude) he learned at Bayern Munich, the most professionally structured club he said he ever played at.

Finally to concur with Gary Nolan, we are in the QF's of the UEFA Cup. We are the only EPL club in the competition and as Bojinov told the MCFC website the other day If Rangers are capable of reaching the Cup final so are City. Put it this way if you asked any of us if we'd be at this stage after the Santander game would any of us said yes?

trinder said...

Some excellent points made here and in earlier comments. To my mind, the strongest case for sacking Hughes would focus on the very ordinary return he’s got for £100m, his inability to turn a game by altering the tactics and players, and his refusal away from home to depart from an infuriatingly cautious approach that so clearly isn’t working. Most damning of all is that despite all the obstacles he’s faced and the great changes he’s trying to impose, his teams too often appear disorganised and uncertain. If Hughes is the man to bring City success, there shouldn’t be a player in the squad who doesn’t understand the manager’s system and tactics and his own responsibilities, positioning and purpose. But there is.

The case for keeping Hughes, however, rests on three powerful arguments: 1) it takes much longer than 10 months to renovate a club like City. To deny him a proper transfer window, a clearout and a full summer of preparation would be unfair and senseless. 2) City’s impatience with managers has brought us nothing, absolutely nothing, so why would it work this time? 3) you don’t sack a manager unless you have a superior replacement. We don’t.

All things considered, I’d let him stay. But I wouldn’t stand for anything like the sort of tonterías we’ve seen this season.

Gary Nolan said...

Trinder those 3 points at the end of your post absolutely hit the nail on the head. He should be given another season.

JPB said...

Yeah trinder I agree with basically all of that.

Danny Pugsley said...

I think Trinder is spot on when he makes the point about potential replacements.

Much of the cry for Hughes's dismissal has been without a sensible alternative being mentioned.

I doubt ADUG will fire Hughes without a top drawer replacement being agreed. Are we at that stage where we can attract that calibre of manager?

Yes, the money is there but Champions League is where its at and will the likes of Mourinho etc truly be tempted?

trinder said...

As you imply, Danny, we're not at that stage. Just as the world's very best players (the top 20 or so) aren't persuaded by money, neither are the world's finest managers. Take Jose for example: his claim to be great is weakened by his failure to win the Champions League at two extremely rich clubs. He may not admit it but he's got to win the thing again, and he isn't going to do that with City.

As for some others, who is suitable and available? Not so long ago, we'd have rejoiced if Ramos had been appointed. That didn't work for Spurs. To get Magath or Spalletti or Guardiola or Southgate would be grand (not to mention unlikely) but we'd still have to wait a couple of years for him to decide who doesn't fit and who he needs. Let's stick with what we've got.

Wigan Blue said...


Don't want to get into a debate about which were Hughes' signings. If you're going to discount Tal Ben Haim, then the same has to be said for Shaun Wright Phillips - and Mark Hughes is claiming him as one of his best signings.

I don't want them to sack the guy. I just want somebody to bang his head on the table very hard and say LISTEN...