One of football’s biggest myths is that clubs that quickly fire their managers suddenly become unattractive to unemployed coaches.
‘Aye ok, they could fire the manager, but who are they going to get?’ is a setter you will often hear when a team is in trouble. Peace of Gie.
As history has shown, it doesn’t matter if a club manager’s office is equipped with a revolving door, there will be all sorts of unemployed coaches who will happily walk through it to get the job done. opportunity for gainful employment.
Remember that when a manager loses his job due to poor performance, it doesn’t end the same way it did for Joe Public, but rather with the nice cushion of a contract payout to soften the blow. .
There are also many more managers than jobs, especially at the highest level. That’s why you’ll always hear stories about Sven Goran Eriksson applying for the Motherwell gig or Walter Zenga running for the St Mirren job. There is no shortage of managers available; good, bad and clearly bonkers.
It’s also why clubs hold such positions of power when it comes to treating managers like disposable products, and when they’re associated with the rise of social media to shape opinions and amplify the voices of fans. to the point where they’re constantly heard at boardroom level, why a manager’s ankle is rarely anything but shoogly these days.
It’s what led the Dundee United hierarchy to swing the ax at Jack Ross this week, just 10 weeks into his reign as Tannadice manager, knowing full well there will be plenty of desperate candidates. to succeed him.
Well, that, and the 9-0 loss to Celtic that capped a brutal run that saw United concede 23 goals in four matches with just one the other way, in fairness.
It was a barely conceivable run amid the euphoria of the first leg victory over AZ Alkmaar less than a month ago, a night that recalled the club’s glory years and seemed to hint at a golden future under new manager and united ownership.
It is often said that a week is a long time in football, but the past month has been an eternity for Arabs.
No questions were asked of Ross that night, and now he’s gone. It would, however, be unfair to say that no questions have been asked about United’s ownership and the club’s current direction, even though fan concerns may have been temporarily banished amid the euphoria of this night of fleeting glory.
But while the hiring and firing of gaffers isn’t a unique feature of a football club these days, Ross’s banishment after such a short tenure instead raises some questions about Dundee United’s long-term plan.
Dig a little deeper than the past four weeks, and there are more red flags fans of other Scottish clubs might well recognise, including those across the street in Dens Park.
For example, while there is much to be congratulated on chairman Mark Ogren’s management of the club, one wonders how United will go about repaying their £9million in interest-free loans that were present in their 2021 accounts. .
It’s a figure that only goes one way, with United’s payroll in those same accounts accounting for 132% of their annual turnover. The plan may well be to salvage that through regular qualification for European football, but as this year has shown, the gap even to the Europa League group stages is cavernous to bridge.
There is also the possibility of selling players, but the recent switch to experienced high-wage pros – with the exception of Dylan Levitt – makes the club feel a little off that path.
Ogren has been in charge of Tannadice for four years and he has brought the club from a moribund state to more or less where it should be in Scottish football. But the money that has been spent to bring them to a position that could reasonably be described as ‘equal’ given the relative size of the club is frustrating to say the least.
Dundee, Hearts, Livingston and Motherwell fans reading this column may also have had their ears pricked, recognizing a film they’ve all seen before.
Wealthy benefactor? Check. Money invested? Check. Salaries far exceeding the turnover? Check. Fairing through handlers? Check. Hit? This check is still in the mail.
United’s backing raises concerns about sporting director Tony Ashgar’s role in the midst of it all too, who saw his latest signing drain after just seven games in charge. Micky Mellon and Tam Courts lasted a bit longer, but only one season each.
The team he helped assemble looks solid on paper (except for a penchant for hiring guards with wet paper towels in place of wrists), but the cost of blowing rivals out of the water for gamers has been considerable, and has yet to provide a justifiable return on that investment.
What should primarily occupy the minds of the United faithful is what happens if the wealthy benefactor – like so many before him – decides he has hemorrhaged enough money trying to turn a club into a Scottish “third force”?
Ogren appears to be genuinely emotionally and financially invested in the club, and his statement following Ross’s sacking was intended to assure fans that he remains committed to United, and was an affirmation of his faith in Ashgar to get things back on track.
Only he can answer the question of how much longer he is willing to sign those checks to keep the whole thing going. We all know, and worryingly, what the alternative is.
. pain short term Dundee United might fade by report to worries long term Mark Ogren lose all interest with his money