Dom Howson column: Judge football bosses on results rather than touchline antics

Nigel Pearson
Nigel Pearson
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The spotlight on football managers has arguably never been greater.

Earlier this week, I went to watch a Championship match where one boss was subjected to ironic cheers by a section of his own supporters after ‘finally’ appearing in the technical area just before the start of the second half.

They thought the manager in question was hiding and not taking accountability for his side’s shortcomings. That reaction got me thinking.

We all know you get different types of personalities on the touchline from ranters and ravers to calm, mild-mannered people but why do they have to be there in the first place? Does a manager have to be barking out orders pitch-side to successfully get his point across? Of course not.

Ex-Owls captain Nigel Pearson, Steve McClaren and Sam Allardyce prefer to take a long-distance view from the stands. Everybody has seen that trio on the telly wired up or speaking on the phone to their staff, passing on their observations.

I appreciate individuals should do what works for them, but the method of watching the majority of the action unfold from above has served Pearson, McClaren and Allardyce pretty well in their careers. It surprises me that more managers have not followed suit.

When in charge of Leicester, Pearson said: “I think the reason that more managers don’t do it (watch from the stands) in this country is that there seems to be this obsession, with fans and media alike, that if you’re English you need to show passion on the touchline.

“If you are a foreigner, of course, you can stand there brooding and you’re an intelligent coach.”

Some, not all, fans want to see their manager get animated. It is all part of the soap opera, the razzamatazz of the beautiful game.

Quite a few Wednesdayites turned on Dave Jones because they were unhappy over the lack of passion he demonstrated in the technical area. Why does a manager have to behave like a raving lunatic to show he cares?

My fear is the cult of the manager will continue to get worse and the scrutiny on them will only intensify when the record Premier League TV rights deal kicks in.

What managers should be judged on is their tactics and team selection. Those are the things they can control. We should stop fixating on manager’s body language and touchline demeanour and let them get on with their jobs.