What does a modern football 'manager' do?

Discussion in 'Football Forum' started by Lentwood, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Apr 15, 2019

    Lentwood Full Member

    Jan 2, 2015
    West Didsbury, Manchester
    I decided to start this thread for a couple of reasons;

    1) There appears to be some confusion across the board on what a modern football manager does and does not do

    2) I am keen to expand my own knowledge about how individual clubs are structured and what responsibilities the 'Head Coach', '1st Team Manager' etc....have and do not have

    Now, in relation to the latter, Point.1, there are a large percentage of posters prevalent on the Manchester United forum who do not understand what a modern 'Head Coach' does. This is evidenced by statements such as the following which are common;

    A) Manager X was useless, his signings were terrible
    B) Manager X is useless, our players don't look coherent and we attack/defend badly as a unit
    C) Manager X was such an idiot for giving Player X a new contract/giving Player X £400K per week

    I freely admit I am not the most knowledgeable person on this subject (hence Point.2), however, I do know that modern football management is nothing like football management in the 90s (or even early/mid noughties) and many of the criteria many people use to judge a managers performance actually may have very little to do with their day-to-day role

    For example, take A) - I am fairly certain that modern managers have very little time to sit down and watch thousands of hours of footage of the French 2nd division to try and pick up a bargain. I would imagine that at United, the manager offers opinions on which positions need to be strengthened and what 'type' of player they would ideally like. It is then 100% down to the Scouting network to identify candidates which once refined, I am sure the manager has some, but not total, input on who we ultimately decide to put in a offer for. At that stage, I imagine the manager has absolutely zero authority on how much we actually pay. Ed and the Commercial team will have a figure and regardless of what the manager thinks, the success or failure of the transfer will depend on the other team being amendable to that figure.

    The RedCafe consensus - United manager sits in his office clicking around on YouTube and phoning agents to thrash out deals whilst smoking a cigar and drinking a pina colada

    For example B) - I imagine that the manager has a team of coaches to whom they dictate a style and high-level 'tactical identity' that they would like coached into their players. I imagine the manager, along with the match-day analysts, highlight areas to work on based on previous performances or footage of upcoming opponents. Beyond that, I highly doubt that the manager does much on the training pitch other than maybe pop his head in from time-to-time to get a general 'feel' for morale and to motivate the players.

    The RedCafe consensus - Ole turns up to training in all his gear, takes Rashford and Martial to one-side, summons Lindelof and Smalling, puts the ball down, nutmegs them both and smashes it passed De Gea into the top corner, winks, says 'that's how you do it lads' and walks off to drink pina colada's/smoke cigars whilst watching Gremio vs Flamengo live stream on Bet365

    For example C) - I just don't think the manager has ANY impact here at all, especially at Utd. This is evidenced by Smalling signing a new deal the day after Jose left....if it needed to be evidenced at all. I am not saying this is a bad thing necessarily, just an observation

    The RedCafe consensus - Utd manager sits in sheepskin coat and haggles with Mino Raiola for hours over goal bonuses akin to the footage of Barry Fry haggling with an agent in that 'There's only one Barry Fry' documentary on the Internet. At one point, they play a game of cards to determine whether Player X gets £250K or £350K per week.

    So....beyond, or in addition to, the above, my question to the forum is;

    'What does a modern football do and what do they not do'?
  2. Apr 15, 2019

    Skills Snitch

    Jan 17, 2012
    Managers or head coaches should be judged on what they do with the players they have. They need to get the best out of the players they have at the club, and the players that the club buys. Keep them motivated and put them in positions to succeed.

    That is first and foremost. I'd argue only Guardiola out of all current managers has earned the right to have a major influence over the clubs recruitment. He's the best manager in the world, plays the best football in the world and his results show that if you give him what he wants he'll deliver that. No other manager in the world has earned that right with their respective records, so shouldn't be given a slate where they can spends 100s of millions to buy 'their squad'.
  3. Apr 15, 2019

    Trizy New Member

    Apr 16, 2014
    I wrote a piece kinda similar a while back:

    On the back of Olé recent successful 6 out 6 wins, it got me thinking how hard is it really to be a manager? What do the top managers have that others do not? One way to be a top manager with a top club/squad is to get the players enjoying it and motivate them (Zidane & Olé).

    Key skills required:
    Man Management


    Questionable skills:
    Style of play
    - At a top club you literally have the money to employ the best coaching staff / trainers / assistants in the world. You might take the modern approach which seems to be pressing high, retaining possession, fluid/interchanging attack, attacking fullbacks and counter attacking with speed. In theory you just need to employ a coach who specialize in the above.

    Signing players - Scouts pretty much do this for you, that is of course once they have a brief of the type of player you want (see above style of play point). You approve it and the CEO/DOF signs them.

    Picking your XI - Most arm chair fans could pick the Top 6's best XI really.

    Training - Again, as point one mentions; coaches. They will take the players and do the drills.

    In game substitutes - Once you pick your best team you watch the game unfold. If you need a goal late on, you bring on another attacker. If your midfield is losing a midfield battle, you bring on a CM. If you need to defend a lead you bring on a CB. Someone is injured, you replace them with a suitable replacement.

    A style/formation isn't working (against a bus team for example) you switch formations and accommodate the players to suit this. Player X is having a nightmare of a game, replace him. Some times I think managers get too much credit for ''masterclass subs''.

    Tactics - Again you will have highly educated assistants and scouts who watch your appointment before you face them. They will point of their strengths and weakness which you address by formation or certain players.

    You're playing away from home it's not uncommon to play deep, defend and try hit on the counter. Coaches have been doing it for years yet it's credited as ''cowardly'' when it doesn't work or as a master class tactical breakthrough when it does.

    Media/public image - Probably the easiest part of being a manager. Just don't be a dick and take bait. Defend/deflect pressure away from the players.

    Have the respect of a club and players (either with past glories as a manager or as a player). Have the above required skills and then it's just like being a CEO of a company. You employ the very best people to run performance side it and you're just the face.


    It seems so easy when you look at the above points but it's obviously not as easy as I'm breaking it down otherwise every tom, dick and harry would be a success. Managers would not be so disposable in modern football if that was the case. What do you think makes a great manager?

    Before anyone comes on here and attacks the post that I missed something or understating some aspects it's just a genuine question do see what you think, since us as a Club are looking for a manager. My conclusion is completely based on theory and hypothetical situations. Not experience.
  4. Apr 15, 2019

    Skills Snitch

    Jan 17, 2012
    I think you're underrating the tactical influence of a manager. I think of the head coach as like a chief designer in an engineering firm. His coaching staff is all the designers work under him, but the vision, direction and key decision making to get all the pieces to fit together are still the head coaches job.

    Secondly, the players he's coaching and the staff he's in charge need to actually have confidence in the fact he knows his shit. If they believe he's some pretender, they won't have the same conviction and confidence in his methods.
  5. Apr 15, 2019

    Withnail Full Member

    Jan 5, 2019
    The Arena of the Unwell
    Id agree with that.

    I'd also point out that while it may seem easy to pick the right team and make the appropriate subs, the pressure of doing this at the highest level, with millions watching and every decision being scrutinized in the press and on social media, is not being factored in.

    The reason managers are lauded for making the right decisions is because they are doing it in the heat of battle when the stakes are extremely high.
  6. Apr 15, 2019

    Lay Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

    Jan 29, 2013
    They take the ball and scream at their players to take the ball off them apparently.
  7. Apr 15, 2019

    balaks Full Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northern Ireland
    Tottenham Hotspur
    Only the good ones.
  8. Apr 15, 2019

    Casanova85 New Member

    Jul 12, 2018
    Northwestern Mediterranean
    Makes sure his players are not addicted to internet and videogames.

    Makes sure his players don't drink alcohol or party hard.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  9. Apr 15, 2019

    bosnian_red Worst scout to ever exist

    Aug 13, 2011
    None of us actually know tbh unless we're directly exposed to that environment. Even then it 100% varies from club to club. Managers, coaches, assistant managers, etc. That's why I always thought it was funny when people criticized assistants. Like who the feck knows how big their impact is, it always changes depending on the main guy. The manager is the face of it all though so if everything isnt working, then it's really down to them.
  10. Apr 15, 2019

    kundalini Full Member

    Aug 26, 2004
    The manager creates an environment which encourages his staff and players to do high quality work. He then makes the key decisions such as selecting the team, choosing from transfer short-lists, deciding priorities. He is the face of the club, taking responsibility for results, dealing with the media several times a week.

    In short, he takes responsibility. If he has some class about him, he takes responsibility for poor outcomes, regardless of whether they were actually his fault or not, and gives credit to others when things go well.

    As for the detailed, what does he spend his time doing during the week ? - it will vary from manager to manager. Sir Alex delegated a lot towards the end. Moyes seemed to want to do everything himself.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019