Every year, without fail, there is a Twitter campaign calling for a manager to be sacked in the Premier League. At a minimum, that happens to at least three clubs per season. Last year, we were blessed with #LvGOUT, #WengerOUT (a perennial favorite), and for a short time #MourinhoOUT. Granted, two of three names on that list did get fired, and Wenger’s future is still up in the air, but is it realistic to believe that these important management decisions were made because a bunch of fans were using a certain hashtag, or because someone flew a plane with an anti-manager banner over a stadium? Probably not.
This brings me into the main point of the post, should fans have a bigger say in deciding a manager’s future? We have a perfect example of this at Arsenal. Right now, if you look at media reports and Twitter replies, you would think that 99 percent of Arsenal fans want Arsene Wenger to get canned. Honestly, I’ve lost count of how many times this type of anti-Wenger crusade has taken place, and surprise, surprise, none of the previous campaigns have been successful.
Even though those campaigns didn’t work, should Stan Kroenke, the man who ripped the hearts out of football fans in his home state of Missouri last year, take those fan voices into consideration when making decisions? As much as I dislike Kroenke and the way that he handles his business, I think that he, and the rest of the owners in the sport, are right to insulate themselves from the angry masses.
Sure, I am an avid Manchester United and last year, near the end, I was hoping that the board would can Louis Van Gaal, but I wasn’t going to post any of that on social media. The attitudes of fans can change at the drop of a hat. One week, a team can go from being in a death spiral because they drew away to Bournemouth, to being considered Champions League contenders the next week because they smashed West Brom at home.
I think that if owners paid close attention to what fans were saying on social media, and in the stands, we would we managerial changes every other week. As much as fans want to believe that they know the inner workings of the club, there’s still so much that is kept private. We don’t know what long-term plans the manager has. We don’t know what transfer reinforcements he’s planning on bringing in over the summer. We don’t know if there are some bad apples in the changing room that are affecting other players. With all of these unknowns, it just becomes the easiest solution to blame the manager.
Fans have always wanted immediate results, and if a manager can’t deliver them, they suddenly face chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning,” whenever they enter a stadium. There’s a great saying from Buddy Ryan, former NFL head coach and father of Rex and Rob, that applies to these situations. The two-time Super Bowl champion said, “If you listen to the fans, you’ll be witting up there with them.”
As much as fans want their voices to be heard, and think that they are pushing for a solution that is best for the club, these types of decisions are best left for the people that have all of the information and expertise available to them. So, sorry to say this Arsenal fans, but as much as you want to believe that your hashtags and signs (which have become somewhat of a global meme) are going to sway Kroenke, I think that you’re going to be left disappointed.