Manager vacancy: The satisfaction dilemma

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Adam Haworth October 15, 2012
Thanks Jamie As a Yorkshire Claret, its a brilliant site to ... 3 years ago

It’s now clear that Burnley’s search for a new man is well underway, but this appointment is one that cannot ever be correct, writes Adam Haworth.

A few years back, we were all staring at our computer screens and televisions wondering who on earth our new manager was. He was some Scottish guy with a rising reputation in the game, looking to kick-start his career by moving to Burnley. Burnley fans and the English game as a whole will never forget that guy’s name, despite his apparent lack of experience and knowledge when he started the job. We couldn’t understand a word he said, we didn’t think so at the time, but it was OK, because it was a fresh opportunity and one that presented great promise. We began to play flowing football, creating triangles and squares all over the pitch. We had a storming cup run. We won promotion to the Premier League. It was an inspired appointment. But no one (or almost no one) would exactly describe themselves as delighted or satisfied with the appointment of Mr Coyle when he first joined the club. No one knew what a good appointment he would be.

Fast forward to present day and we have a different dynamic between the club and its fans. Expectations are higher after a short spell in the Premier League, yet our stock has actually fallen as a club. We’ve had one very unpopular manager and one average one since Coyle left for Bolton and there’s an awful lot of pressure to get the appointment right this time round. As a result of that pressure, us fans are brandishing our opinion on every rumour around, stating whether we would be “happy” with said rumoured candidate. Some fans are even acting on their opinions and declaring they’d stop going to Turf Moor if we appoint a lower league manager, such as Michael Appleton. The truth is that we cannot satisfy everyone with this managerial decision. So many people have a different take on where the club should be heading it’s impossible to do so.

But what do the board do? With ticket prices raised and money tighter than ever, fans are only looking for a small excuse to not head to the beloved Turf anymore. The club’s appointment not only decides where the club is heading football wise, but also decides whether fans keep going to Turf Moor to watch that football. It’s about balance – is the need to inspire fans and the town again greater than the need to keep the club philosophy, invest in youth (in terms of both players and management) the same.

The aforementioned change of attitude around Turf Moor in the last few seasons means that when a bad spell comes upon us, as fans we lose confidence. We’re just setting ourselves up for a fall if we don’t. An inspiring or experienced manager would enlighten the fans, give them confidence, which leads to an improved atmosphere and thus idyllic playing conditions when at home. But the other route – taking a young manager and letting him settle in and grow as a club-man and eventually reach success – may even see bigger or better rewards, via longevity than the previous route. But it’s more of a risk: it’s about the dynamic between the fans and the manager and whether the two take to each other.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to the interview process, but it’s interesting to look at whether the board should play it safe, or whether they stick to their guns. It’s the satisfaction dilemma.

What do you think is the right way to go? Comment below. 


  • Jamie Smith
    Jamie Smith

    Good piece. Difficult balance for the board. Don’t want to bang on about Coyle again but even if he was under consideration, the board would have to consider the fact so many fans would be very unhappy with him being brought back. Even someone with a good record like Mick McCarthy isn’t universally popular, which just shows it’s really hard to get the right man in.

    I’ve faith we’ll get it right though. There’s only Laws since Waddle who has been a bad appointment, the rest have been at least all right.

    • Kevin Robinson
      Kevin Robinsonin reply to Jamie Smith

      I wouldn’t be delighted with McCarthy – just wouldn’t ‘excite’ me.

      • Jamie Smith
        Jamie Smithin reply to Kevin Robinson

        I’d rather have him than a rookie or someone just cos they played for us 20 years ago, but I’d rather still have someone progressive, younger and more in the Howe mould.

        • Kevin Robinson
          Kevin Robinsonin reply to Jamie Smith

          Absolutely, the Howe mould is exactly what I want. For some reason, experience bores me.

  • Sydneyclaret

    I like so many claret fans became so disallusioned with the board after the whole hiring of Laws and the ridiculas mathmatical reasons given for his appointment. And then to say he was chosen for his experience in the championship (experience we would need the next season), whilst we were still in the top half of the premier league!!!
    We have been taught of late to be cynical of any press releases as most have been more than misleading.
    If Hoos is to show us he’s fair dinkum (I know, I know, give me a break Ive been in Aussie for 20 years), he should get someone like Mick McCarthy or dare I say it a “Big Sam”, can’t believe two lancashire clubs let him get away.

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Sydneyclaret

      Even if Allardyce isn’t settled down south it’s hard to see him leaving the Premier League, West Ham and a possible move to the Olympic Stadium to come to Turf Moor.

      • Kevin Robinson
        Kevin Robinsonin reply to Jamie Smith

        See, I’d much prefer us to appoint a promising young manager. Experience bores me.

        • Jamie Smith
          Jamie Smithin reply to Kevin Robinson

          Me too. Coyle and Howe both had the advantage of us not really knowing what was coming, which is always a thrill. Someone like Mick might be deemed a safe pair of hands, but it’ll be less interesting to watch.

    • James Bird
      James Birdin reply to Sydneyclaret

      We definitely were not in the top half of the league when Coyle left us…

      • Kevin Robinson
        Kevin Robinsonin reply to James Bird

        We’d only won one in about 10 games or something like that hadn’t we?

        • Jamie Smith
          Jamie Smithin reply to Kevin Robinson

          9 off the top of my head, but every team has a bad spell, especially promoted ones, and people conveniently forget we won at mk dons in the cup in that time….

  • Mike Mada

    Rock and a hard place come to mind.

    The Laws appointment was a crowning mistake, of course, yet no-one on the board wanted to get it so wrong. In fact that’s the worrying thing, this was a seemingly calculated decision.

    Ultimately, that balance between unearthing an unknown gem like (go on, spit those words out) Owen Coyle and Eddie (I think he would have got there) and seriously capable promotion getters (with a salary to go with it) is a very difficult challenge.

    If he’d come, I reckon that McCarthy would be worth the punt as he has the credentials – and most of the time he’s got a good sense of humour.

    So why not?

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Mike Mada

      The main drawback with McCarthy is simply money.

      • Michael Connellin reply to Jamie Smith

        The main drawback with McCarthy is that we’ve spent the last two years signing young players and developing the youth system with a particular style of play in mind. I can’t see MM buying into it.

        • Jamie Smith
          Jamie Smithin reply to Michael Connell

          I dunno, he’s been out of work a while and might be willing to adapt. He also seem to have a reputation now as a short-term fix kinda guy, maybe he wants a long-term project to end his career on. Who knows. Since we apparently contacted him days ago and there’s been no news since, I’m guessing this one isn’t happening anyway.

  • Phil The Claret

    Can’t imagine why Burnley FC charge between £25-£32 for a match day ticket. I thought Burnley was in East Lacashire not West London. Who in their right mind would pay that to watch mediocre crap. They need to lower their prices before more fans will come through the turnstiles. Our rivals Rovers charge charge about £17 for a match ticket. As I’ve said before we could get any manager from Michael Appleton to Jose Mourinho if the board have no money to buy decent players, it doesn’t really who Burnley install as manager.

    • James Bird
      James Birdin reply to Phil The Claret

      Luton charge £18, having been to see them on Saturday I can tell you that £25 to see us is a bargain!

  • Michael B

    Only just found this site and feel there are some excellent comments

    I feel that who the Board selects as the new manager is a barometer of the Club’s ambition for the future. Water under the bridge but Eddie probably went back to his true love club which has been refinanced with new owners with the promise that he can have resources to build and develop his club

    There are many teams in the Championship with resources and resources buy players – a good Manager can bring out the best in the players. A good manager with no resources is working with his hands tied behind his back.

    I think we have to accept that the new manager will be selected in line with the Board’s aspirations for the Club

    Personally, despite whats gone on in the past, owen Coyle demonstrated Burnley’s aspirations – Dare to dream and go for it! – the underdog – whatever some might say, he knew how to motivate players

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Michael B

      Welcome to the site Michael, hope you enjoy it.

      • Michael Bin reply to Jamie Smith

        Thanks Jamie

        As a Yorkshire Claret, its a brilliant site to keep informed as our local papers don’t mention the boys in Claret and Blue very often!