News   |    July 21st, 2021


One team can win the Premier League, three other teams can qualify for the Champions League, and 10 teams are promoted from the Championship, League One and League Two. If you throw in two Europa League places and assume The FA Cup and League Cup winners are not either the Champions League or Europa League qualifiers, then 18 of the 92 teams can consider themselves to have had a successful season, which means 74 teams will be judged by many of their fans to have failed.

With social media being regularly used by supporters as a negative tool around football clubs, many fans of most of the 74 ‘unsuccessful’ clubs will often be calling for a change in management. Building a team requires time and patience but so often chairmen and women, and their boards react to this social media pressure as well as the wider media pressure be that local or national depending on the size of club involved.

Radio phone ins are much more active when clubs are doing badly rather than well. This pressure is reinforced by the written media at the more high-profile clubs. Rather than report the news, some journalists now try to engineer the news themselves. Take Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at present. There has been non-stop coverage in recent weeks that he should be axed and replaced by Mauricio Pochettino because of their poor home form. Their away form has been outstanding at the same time with some brilliant results and performances. The reporting on this is miniscule compared to the stories about the poor home results and performances.

You have to admire those clubs who refuse to bow to this intense pressure. Sir Alex Ferguson had a terrible start to his career at Old Trafford and I have no doubt if that start had happened in the modern era he would have been replaced and subsequently not created the dynasty at Manchester United that he did. Fans and media were calling for the head of Ralph Hasenhutl at Southampton after their 9-0 defeat to Leicester City last season and look at the quality of the side he has gone on to produce. At various times David Moyes West Ham, Jose Mourinho at Spurs, Frank Lampard at Chelsea to name just three have all come under the same pressure.

It has almost become habit that one bad result leads to keyboard warriors and radio callers circling in. For many fans you are now only as good as your last result and this is no way to run a successful business let alone a football club where there are so many human component parts to building a successful club and team.

There are exceptions to the rule as with everything in life but generally stability is the key to football success.

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Photograph: Tom Jenkins/NMC Pool/The Guardian

Peter Varney - Chairman, Integral Sports Management

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