Management drug keeps them chasing the dream

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WHO’D be a footall manager?

Who needs to hear whining fans, petulant players and domineering directors telling you all day and night you can’t have any money, you won’t pick the right team and that, actually, you don’t know what you’re doing?

Lots do and always will.

Ask Keith Hill, John Sheridan and Gary Megson today and they might deny it but it’s in their blood.

Gary Megson is recovering from the battering he got from his sacking by Sheffield Wednesday, John Sheridan is still licking his wounds over Spireites fans telling him he doesn’t know what he’s doing - just before his team changes won three priceless points - and Keith Hill reckons he’s surrounded by negative attitudes.

Negative in Barnsley? Surely not?

Young bosses are told by their hard-bitten brethren that the only certain thing in football management is that you’ll be sacked.

Looking at the first fifteen minutes of the QPR documentary on Sunday night you’d think some of them would be glad of the tin-tack, the way they are treated.

Solid football men like Iain Dowie and Paulo Sosa being ordered about as though they were YTS trainees by wannabees who have the money to turn their Saturday afternoon rants into Monday morning reality.

Being a bit-part player in a rich man’s football fantasy appears to be no fun at all.

But they keep queueing up to do it and they keep getting the chop.

Andreas Villas-Boas is the latest high-flying failure after ten minutes or so at Chelsea.

He took the job on for millions of pounds and didn’t deliver, so he could expect what he got.

But what was all that about ‘the project’?

What exactly did Abramovich want him to do?

Every football manager’s project is to oversee the development of his squad, bring on younger players, finish older ones when their time comes and win as many matches as he can.

How was his task any different?

Wasn’t it his job to pick the team he thought would win games while slowly blooding younger players and introducing new - and presumably Roman Abramovich’s - ideas into their thinking?

For thousands of ex-players football is what they know best - in many cases after a lifetime in the game it’s pretty much all they know enough about to be able to earn a good living at.

But there has to be more to it than that.

The drug of playing may only be partly replaced by any success in management but maybe nothing else comes close.

We muggles on the outside of football looking in can only imagine the intensity of emotion that a professional footballer feels in his career.

Surely, like the drug addict trying to recreate that first blissful high, managers are constantly in search of that hit of ecstasy they knew as players.

But what most of them end up with is a car-park protest and their P45s.

In the last few weeks managers with a World Cup campaign, 12 promotions, five league titles, a league cup, FA Cup and a Europa League Championship between them have been sacked and humbled.

But, as sure as they all were to be canned at some stage in their careers, they will all be back.

Who’d be a football manager?

All of them, over and over again.