Posted by: Pete Robertson | September 13, 2011

Who’d Be A Football Manager?

Coming into his 15th season as manager of Arsenal, it appears that Arsène Wenger is approaching his toughest period yet.

The 8-2 battering handed to the Gunners by Manchester United a few weeks ago was simply the icing on the cake of what must have been Wenger’s least enjoyable pre-season to date.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is facing his toughest start to a Premier League season.

The current rut of form can be traced back to the end of last season. For the first time in the last few seasons, it looked like Arsenal were to be Manchester United’s closest rivals in the race for the title. They fell away dramatically though in the final part of the season, highlighted no better than a loss in the Carling Cup final to Birmingham City, and a dramatic 4-4 draw with Newcastle after being 4-0 up at half time.

Arsenal then went on to lose the Emirates Cup, their stadium based pre-season tournament, for only the second time, in a summer that was dominated by talk of two big name players leaving the club.

The sagas surrounding the transfers of captain Cesc Fabregas and playmaker Samir Nasri dominated the back pages of the newspapers over the summer, with Wenger often forced to repeat his desire to keep both players at interviews. Ongoing rumours such as these quickly become tiresome for a manager who wants to talk about the future and his squad as it is at that point in time, rather than endless questions over which players are leaving, and the manager’s inability to keep his squad together.

A shaky start to the Premier League season has further deepened the hole that Wenger currently finds himself in, and qualification to the Champions League has barely registered amongst a goalless draw to Newcastle, a home defeat by Liverpool and the 8-2 drubbing dealt to them by the Champions Man United. Even this weeks win against Premier League new-boys Swansea came courtesy of an error from Swans keeper Michel Vorm, and Arsenal looked extremely shaky for large periods of the game.

It’s not just the Gunners manager who is already under pressure to perform though. Blackburn manager Steve Kean was given a vote of confidence by the clubs new Indian owners towards the end of last season. However, a relegation battle and failing to grab a single point so far this campaign has left Kean’s job in doubt already, with the bookmakers having the Glasgow born manager as favourite to be sacked before any other Premier League boss this year.

Failing to perform in the transfer market is another sure way to turn fans against you and your club. A prime example of this can be found at Newcastle, where the fans were promised a new striker to replace the £35m sale of Andy Carroll. Added to this are the sales of Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Jose Enrique, all key players for the Toon Army, and yet manager Alan Pardew and the board have, in the eyes of many of the Geordie faithful, failed to use the funds acquired to replace these players and re-enforce the squad.

Even success it seems can be fatal to a manager’s realm at a Premier League club. Just look at Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian guided Chelsea to a league and FA Cup double in his first season in charge, and was rightfully praised for his efforts. During his second season though, Chelsea only came 2nd in the League, securing automatic qualification to the Champions League once again might I add, but sadly this was not enough for their billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, who instead sacked Ancelotti and splashed out over £13m to bring in 33-year-old manager Andre Villas-Boas from Porto.

The life of a football manager is surely one of the most sought after up and down the country, with thousands of us even buying video games to try to replicate the experience. But there is absolutely nothing that can fully immerse you in the real experience, the everyday stress and constantly having to answer questions of your performance.

But despite all of the stress, pressure and scrutiny, who wouldn’t want to manage a football club?


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