Mick McCarthy’s downfall was all too predictable. A string of bad results culminating in a embarrassing defeat to Black Country rivals West Brom saw McCarthy ousted from Wolverhampton Wanderers, a club he has managed for around 5 and a half years. The run of form that the club have been on – 14 points in 22 games – does seem to be that of a doomed manager but it seems pretty harsh on this occasion.
For the last couple of seasons, Wolves’ wage bill has been the second lowest in the Premier League. On that basis you would expect them to be tiptoeing around the relegation zone most seasons. The fact that McCarthy has kept them up on two occasions already seems like a serious accomplishment.
Steve Morgan, Wolves’ Chairman has often railed against short-termism in football. At the end of last season he was quote as saying
“This short-term mentality in football is ludicrous. People have to start thinking…”
“Mick has been here for five years and I don’t believe you get any progress at all by chopping and changing. That’s happened in other clubs and what good has it done?”
Unfortunately, his attitude seems to have changed this year. Morgan’s ideas on financial sustainability are admirable and Wolves are one of the few clubs in England to turn a profit but in running a club like this there has to be acknowledgement that at least in the short term, you might find competing with the clubs around you tricky. This seems to have been forgotten this year in a gamble to achieve a high from bringing in a new manager.
Is this a problem with owners then that they are so desperate to stay in the Premier League that they will hire and fire on a whim? I think it’s a wider issue than that.
Charles Ross, editor of A Load Of Bull, a Wolves fanzine told the BBC
“He should have gone in the early autumn when they started on a bad run and you could see the wheels were coming off.”
Fans as well as owners seem to jump very quickly onto the firing bandwagon.
For an industry and a lifestyle that prides itself on its history, the past is something that is often hard to recall when it comes to managers. Derbies are fought over historic geographical rivalries that have lost much of their significance in the modern world but still have the tendency to inspire bile and violence in football. Fans take great delight in recounting ancient victories and championships but managers who achieve successes in recent years are more often put to the sword if they hit a dip.
Players and managers are often castigated by fans and owners alike for not showing loyalty to their clubs when a perceived better offer arrives. Fans, owners and management cannot expect to be able to have one’s cake and eat it. Without some appreciation of achievements past, why should players and managers? If we are going to continue to live a season at a time, you cannot really argue if they do the same.