Managing a football team is tough, much tougher than any of us can even imagine, especially in today’s footballing world which is exponentially improved in all aspects in last 20-25 years, be it technological advancement, modern medical development, continuously improving tactical nous, technical data, business model and marketing structure, financial returns, fan awareness and demands, social presence and intense pressure . Not only one needs to make the team buy into his ideas, but to manage the egos, keep their morals high, take care of opposition tactics, manage and choose from the data provided by the number crunchers of the technical crew to his benefit , manage and keep the entire squad happy and motivated by distributing playing time, look into requisite transfers and give importance to academy, manage injuries and medical profiles of varying players by adjusting his team likewise, answer the owners and fans, conduct themselves in a particular way etc etc. And after accomplishing all that, they are expected to win trophies or achieving their footballing targets set by the owners or fan expectations.
Hence they need a team of 5-6 people to assist them in every facet. No wonder Pep has lost his hair, Mourinho’s hair is turning snow white, Zidanes smooth face has started wrinkling slowly, no wonder managers today burn out within 3-4 years and need a sabbatical before a fresh start. The pressure, expectations and criticism is so intense, even the greatest of modern managers can’t sustain it for too long. We see top clubs today change managers with snapping of fingers for faltering at the first hurdle, even the smallest of clubs today change managers like shirts, patience is short and with the interlinked spiderweb of social media, pressure is infinite. No matter how much aloof one tries to remain from external pressure, there is no escaping it. The manager will find experts and pundits in newspaper columns and TV channels saying how he should manage the team and how his team should play, he will find fans screaming from the galleries and in social media platforms, how he is mismanaging the side and buying the wrong players. It’s a landmine everywhere which is ready to explode at the faintest of missteps.
Managing a club today is as much about actual management as it is about football and tactical knowledge. That’s why we find successful managers like Sir Alex Ferguson being invited to premium managerial institutes to give lectures and share their ideas and experiences on management.We find autobiographicies and managerial books written by successful managers selling like hot cakes in the market. Inevitably and invariably , there is no single managerial way which is a sureshot recipe of success. We find calm and subdued managers like Carlo Ancelotti, winning multiple league titles and multiple Champion Leagues. No wonder his managerial autobiography is titled, “Quiet Leadership”. We have colorful and energetic modern managers like Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp, who combine their radically different styles of man management with footballing acumen to manage top clubs. We have tactical grandmasters like the Late Johan Cruyff and his modern mirror image Pep Guardiola, who perhaps relies more on their footballing philosophies and a standard footballing legacy and balances them with their own style of management to remain at top. We find promising and intelligent ex players trying their hands at management, some of them get their hands burnt, some succeed.
Football today is traversing, previously unthinkable uncharted territories, both financially as well as from business point of view. But the eternal hot seat of football still continues to be the manager who is the face of the club in front and hence represents the club from its owners to its team members in front of fans and cameras. Hence, perhaps they have the toughest job in modern footballing world and it will continue to be so in coming days, as they will try to continuously juggle between the various facets of the game, finances and the particular club, and will try to innovate and evolve in every facet to keep on producing results .