Jump to content
Note to existing users - password reset is required Read more... ×
Sign in to follow this  
PurpleCanary

Dithery - or sensibly refusing to panic?

Recommended Posts

An accusation against the directors is that when it comes to sacking managers they dither (sometimes sentimentally) over what seem to be obvious decisions (leaving aside for now whether these decisions are so obvious).Smith and Jones joined the board in November 1996 and became majority shareholders a year later. These are their choices of full-time managers (omitting the stopgap likes of Phelan) with the rough number of months they survived:Rioch (21); Hamilton (9); Worthington (70); Grant (12); Roeder (15); Gunn (8); Lambert (34); Hughton (22); Adams (9); Neil (26).So in 226 months (of having a permanent manager) 10 such, with an average lifespan of just over 22 months. In context, the overall average in the four English divisions is 14 months, around 22 months in the Premier League and only about 10 months in the Championship. Since two other club have recently been quoted as models of decisiveness it should be borne in mind that in the same timeframe Derby County have seen 14 fulltime managers come and go (and that is only since 2001, because Jim Smith lasted from 1995 until then) and Nottingham Forest have got through no fewer than 20.In order, Rioch (who lasted about the average) quit, and it looked as if this was a genuine resignation, prompted by players continually being sold, rather than jumping before he was pushed, unlike Hamilton''s "resignation", which seemed more to fall into that latter category. If so, then the directors hardly dithered there.With Worthington his record demanded he be given a chance to manage in the Premier League and then to have a season to try to get back. But it is not hindsight to say he should have been cut adrift at the end of that last full season. It really did seem obvious he was shot as a Norwich City manager. There the charge of dithering is justified.Grant was given only a few months to see how good his summer signings were and how they bedded in before a mutual agreement to let him leave, based on the answers. Roeder, having then taken us from rock bottom to safety with a game to spare (and with the priceless endorsement of Peter Cullum), was given the next half-season before he was sacked. Not too much sentimental dithering in either of those cases.Leaving aside whether Gunn should have been chosen in the first place, keeping him on was a basic mistake. Sentimentality overcame sense.  Sacking him after one league game was hardly dithering, but then he shouldn''t have been there to sack.Lambert left to better himself, and no-one would seriously suggest he should have been sacked before then. Which brings us to the strange case of Hughton. Looking back you can find here posters who said at the time (or later claimed they had said) that Hughton should have been sacked at any stage from the point in his first season when he started moving to ultra-defence (I know there are arguments about this, but for the purposes of this discussion, given we are talking about public perception as much as reality...) through to when he was given the boot, and posters who said (or now say) we should have kept him on, either because we wouldn''t have gone down, or because we still would have but he would have been the right manager to get us back up...Imagine the incandescent reaction here if Delia, after that crucial West Brom defeat, had given that last scenario as reason for not sacking him. I can think of some posters who would have spontaneously combusted. It is possible for posters, collectively and individually, to have varied and changeable opinions, and even hold many of them at the same time. But the directors can only make one decision, bearing in mind that keeping the status quo is as much a decision as changing it. Given that we were even then not in the relegation zone, I don''t believe the directors dithered, or were sentimental. They might have made the wrong decision, but that is not the same thing.Adams was given less time than Neil would later be to try to recover from a slump, but it may well be McNally (as with Lambert post-Gunn) was able to persuade the board to act more quickly than they might have done because he had a replacement lined up. And Neil had the credit in the bank of a promotion when he slumped, and then an illusory mini-revival. Plus, given the restructuring and the planned arrival of a sporting director, the potential difficulty of choosing a successor. If I had been on the board I would have argued for him to be sacked back in November/December, but I would have expected persuasive counter-arguments, because there were some.So, some dithering (and some sentimentality), but overall I don''t believe the charge sticks. And not just because the clubs being admired for their supposed decisiveness don''t strike me as being as being role models we should follow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well it all depends on your opinion I guess.

I think they held on to Worthy, Hughton and Grant for too long. They also gave the job to two managers who should never have been- Neil Adams and Bryan Gunn. Sure those two didn''t last long but it''s difficult to see any other reason they were given the job other than sentimentality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That''s a very interesting analysis Purple.  I guess the start point is that our average manager has a tenure some twice as long as the championship average, which I wouldn''t say is any bad thing in itself.

 

Looking at the managers we should first take Rioch and Lambert out of the equation, because they both left of their own volition.

 

Next the record shows a manager has around 10-15 months to get himself properly established at City and if he fails to demonstrate at least a level of success in that time, our Board will find it quite easy to get rid.  For example compare Adams'' record before his departure with Alex Neil - Adams wasn''t anywhere near as bad for the current season, yet was got rid of much earlier in the season and with the team much better placed (with time for a successor to have a decent shot at automatic promotion).  So at that stage, the Board is pretty ruthless.  And it would be hard to disagree with any of those sacking decisions - people like Grant, Roeder, Hamilton, Gunn, Adams, had their chance IMO.

 

That leaves Worthy, Hughton and Neil.  And I would say the charge of dithering, or one could call it allowing loyalty and sentiment to override good sense for too long, is justified for all 3.  

 

Worthy you''ve mentioned, was clearly kept on too long. 

 

For Hughton the problems were very clear from the start of his second season and the board fell between two stools by failing to back him in January for transfers, but not getting rid either.  I remember at the start of that season seeing his team play at 1-0 down against a Hull team with 10 men for most of the game and struggle to create any real chances despite masses of possession.  While at Spurs when we were 2-0 down, the team didn''t seem to feel there was any need to try to score.

 

While AN had been painfully out of his depth since January last year, when we had that horrendous run.  To allow him to get away with a similarly bad run in the division below to the point where this season is (probably) a write off, with our squad, is almost criminal.

 

So I think the record shows a new manager has about 10-15 months to establish himself with  City.  After that, as long as he''s achieved something, the Board will from then give him a long time when performing badly, and too long at the end, before getting rid.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote user="Its Character Forming"]

Looking at the managers we should first take Rioch and Lambert out of the equation, because they both left of their own volition.

 

[/quote]I thought Lambert was hounded out when Delia refused to buy Lukaku because her Mum hadn''t recommended the player making him useless in the eyes of the real decision makers at CR. [:)]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like to see interesting and researched posts like this (often I check the Pinkun once a day, maybe every two days at times.... so this is a good debate piece for me to contribute to). It makes me wonder whether posters have a tolerance position themselves, that once a manager gets to a certain time when their expectations are not met, then they ''turn''?

I think the board did indeed dither with Worthy and collectively fans gave their verdict publicly against Burnley. I was one of those who felt Hughton should have gone earlier but it was based on a feeling that at the time he didn''t play people to their strengths and like Neil was fixed in his strategies. Of course the mind over time is less reliable. I would have given Adams longer too, yet I didn''t know of course what was going on behind the scenes.

I wonder also whether it''s not the degree of prevarication that is key but the soundness of the original decisions. Heavens know why we selected Grant, Gunn and Roeder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote user="sonyc"]I like to see interesting and researched posts like this (often I check the Pinkun once a day, maybe every two days at times.... so this is a good debate piece for me to contribute to). It makes me wonder whether posters have a tolerance position themselves, that once a manager gets to a certain time when their expectations are not met, then they ''turn''? I think the board did indeed dither with Worthy and collectively fans gave their verdict publicly against Burnley. I was one of those who felt Hughton should have gone earlier but it was based on a feeling that at the time he didn''t play people to their strengths and like Neil was fixed in his strategies. Of course the mind over time is less reliable. I would have given Adams longer too, yet I didn''t know of course what was going on behind the scenes. I wonder also whether it''s not the degree of prevarication that is key but the soundness of the original decisions. Heavens know why we selected Grant, Gunn and Roeder.[/quote]

 

Definitely true.  I think with First Wiz (bless ''im) a new manager had a honeymoon period of about 2 weeks after which he wanted him out...

 

For me, with AN, I struggled when it all went pear shaped in the Prem after Christmas especially when Naismith seemed an awful signing.  But I kept hoping he could turn it around.  I had serious doubts when we were top of the league this season (hard to imagine it now) because it seemed our defensive weaknesses would sooner or later bite us in the bum.  I can''t remember exactly when I decided enough was enough, probably it was the farcical defeat at Newcastle in injury time which did it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Heavens know why we selected Grant, Gunn and Roeder."You can make a case for both Grant and Roeder - one a successful and well-respected coach experiencing success as an assistant manager with a Premier league team (Grant)- not a dissimilar record to some that have been suggested recently. The other has experience of managing two premier league teams - cf Pardew, where there are a number of parallels?Perhaps this is the reason why they sometimes dither when dismissing managers? Sacking someone is easier than replacing them with someone better - and it''s not just City who find this!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Very well argued post.

I particularly liked this line "It is possible for posters, collectively and individually, to have varied and changeable opinions, and even hold many of them at the same time. "

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of points. Even the most even-handed non-scientific analysis is bound to be partly subjective, but such a fact-based examination will be more insightful than one based on myth and prejudice. I am sure the lack, so far, of oppositional replies is due only to the time it takes to research a similarly even-handed and fact-based rebuttal.As ICF notes, we do give managers considerably longer than the Championship average, although about the same as the PL average, and we have had five seasons up there.And one complicating factor is that, recently, we have been a yo-yo club, so there is the argument that could have applied with Hughton and did with Neil, that we should hold on to the manager because they will get us straight back up. With Nottingham Forest, and Derby now, for example, the sole criterion is whether the manager get them promoted from the Championship. If they ever get promoted and then immediately relegated then they will have the same complicating conundrum to consider.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Or, the lack of oppositional posts may be due to the fact that those who don''t agree, can''t be bothered to rogue with someone like yourself who thinks without fail you are correct , asserting what you project is fact .

Btw you aren''t pippi long stockings .😜

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
westcoastcanary wrote the following post at 21/03/2017 12:31 AM:

Does the lack of replies demonstrate dithering on a forum-wide scale, or a sensible acceptance that Purple has nailed it? Big Smile [:D]

Probably that people fell asleep reading it ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I''d suggest you''re trying to make a factual debate out of an inherently subjective issue.

Yes we can see that on average we give managers longer but context is everything in these issues.

Take Worthy. I think most would agree here''s kept on too long yet Nutty Nigel recently gave his opinion that given longer he would have arrested our decline. With Hughton I believe the board managed to Sack him both too early and too late. He either had to go 7 or 8 games earlier to give a new manager a real chance or just keep him until the end of the season. Instead we got a useless halfway house of a solution.

For me the ''dithering'' is tied to a wider issue with our majority shareholders- sentimentality. This isn''t something you can prove but in my gut I feel they get over attached to managers on a personal level and let that cloud their judgement. Worthy stayed too long because of this, as did Neil. Equally Gunn and Adams were appointed full time managers despite showing very little on their ''auditions'' to show they should have been- it is difficult not to think those appointments came about due to personal feelings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote user="PurpleCanary"]

A couple of points. Even the most even-handed non-scientific analysis is bound to be partly subjective, but such a fact-based examination will be more insightful than one based on myth and prejudice. I am sure the lack, so far, of oppositional replies is due only to the time it takes to research a similarly even-handed and fact-based rebuttal.

As ICF notes, we do give managers considerably longer than the Championship average, although about the same as the PL average, and we have had five seasons up there.

And one complicating factor is that, recently, we have been a yo-yo club, so there is the argument that could have applied with Hughton and did with Neil, that we should hold on to the manager because they will get us straight back up.

With Nottingham Forest, and Derby now, for example, the sole criterion is whether the manager get them promoted from the Championship. If they ever get promoted and then immediately relegated then they will have the same complicating conundrum to consider.

[/quote]

IMO the Premiership average is probably distorted by Ferguson and Wenger, two managers who are unusually long-serving by the standards of the Premiership and the Championship (and probably the divisions below although I don''t know enough to comment) and with the average tenure being so low, a couple of outliers who are so much higher than average is likely to increase the average significantly.  If someone calculated the average based on teams finishing in the bottom half of the Premiership and all of the Championship, which is let''s face it much more comparable with us, I suspect the average would be even lower than the average for the Championship, because typically teams in the Prem that are battling relegation will change their manager at least once during the season.  I''d be interested to know if anyone has time to do it, I may do... after the season has ended...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote user="king canary"]I''d suggest you''re trying to make a factual debate out of an inherently subjective issue. Yes we can see that on average we give managers longer but context is everything in these issues. Take Worthy. I think most would agree here''s kept on too long yet Nutty Nigel recently gave his opinion that given longer he would have arrested our decline. With Hughton I believe the board managed to Sack him both too early and too late. He either had to go 7 or 8 games earlier to give a new manager a real chance or just keep him until the end of the season. Instead we got a useless halfway house of a solution. For me the ''dithering'' is tied to a wider issue with our majority shareholders- sentimentality. This isn''t something you can prove but in my gut I feel they get over attached to managers on a personal level and let that cloud their judgement. Worthy stayed too long because of this, as did Neil. Equally Gunn and Adams were appointed full time managers despite showing very little on their ''auditions'' to show they should have been- it is difficult not to think those appointments came about due to personal feelings.[/quote]

 

Personally I think that bringing facts into the debate is massively helpful.  It gets us away from people just slagging off the board for dithering and we have to talk sensibly about specific facts and justify our views based on them.  Which you''ve done in your post.

 

I agree completely about Hughton - they had clearly lost faith in him by January and should have got rid of him then, but they ended up getting rid of him when it was too late to make any difference, they should either have sacked him in January (or earlier) or persisted until the end of the season.  And Gunn and Adams definitely stand out as managers that were mistaken appointments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am OK with making a mistaken appointment if you can see the justification at the time. I won''t rage at the board for appointing Hughton - I though he was the most sensible option at that point. Similarly you can see why they''d take a chance on Grant-highly thought of coach and number two looking to make the step up.

The Gunn and Adams appointments stunk as I couldn''t see any rationale for them. Gunn had nearly half a season to keep us up and failed miserably. Adams took 1 point from 5 games (obviously a tough run) and didn''t get us playing any better. To give them both permanent jobs was just jobs for the boys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With Gunn and Adams, both should have been thanked for taking care of the club for a couple of months and reverted to their ''club legend'' status at the end of their respective seasons. On both occasions, we were heading for relegation and the decision to sack the manager was taken too late.

The new seasons could have begun like hopefully next one will, with a fresh start and a new managerial set up.

Sadly those who didn''t see them play for the club will now only view them as disastrous managers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, Gunn and Adams are definitely the standout mistaken appointments.  which remind me of the appointments of the managers who came after Mike Walker (under the previous regime, obv).

 

I really hope the current process will end up with credible appointments for both the DoF and head coach.  If we do, I won''t mind the delay at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×