Wenger calls for managerial longevity
LONDON -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has suggested the rapid turnover of managers in English football is a major threat to the future of the game.
Wenger’s prematch news conference ahead of the Premier League game at Newcastle on Monday was dominated by questions about Manchester United’s decision to sack David Moyes on Tuesday, with the Premier League’s longest-serving manager convinced the turnover of managers is not good for the game.
“If you want quality people in any job, you need to give them time to develop and to become good,” Wenger said. “People with quality will not come into our job any more.
“The average life expectancy of English professional clubs at the moment is 11 months. That is quite unstable. Any guy who is married, has a family will have big hesitancy before he goes into that game.
“That means the quality of coaching and the quality of the managing is under threat because it will not attract quality people any more.
“The trend is that the rotation will become quicker and quicker. If you get to a point where you sack a manager with every defeat, the guy who comes in will lose games as well so that trend will be quicker and quicker.
“That means after a game, there is quick judgement. There is no distance from the event.”
The average top-division European club changes its head coach almost once a year, according to a UEFA study released last week.
Clubs made an average of 2.7 coaching changes in the three seasons from 2011-13, the European governing body said in its licensing benchmarking report.
The least amount of job security was for coaches in top-flight Greek clubs, who lasted an average of four months in that period. Of Europe's top leagues, Spanish teams changed coaches every 11 months and English sides every two years.
Wenger added that club owners need to develop a thick skin and resist the temptation to react to demands to change managers from fans and the media, and offered sympathy for Moyes after he was ousted at United.
“I’m sad that he wasn’t given time and I wish him well,” Wenger said. “I think it’s just part of what the modern game is now. There is no time available for people to do their job. That is a big threat for our game.
“He [Moyes] has a big experience in the Premier League, he has shown quality, big quality, and you would have loved him to get more time.
“Clubs internally will need to be much stronger than before to resist to that immediate pressure. The strength, the belief, the vision inside the club will be tested much more than before and the strength inside the club will need to be much better.”
Wenger went on to comment on the circumstances surrounding Moyes’s sacking at United, as leaks emerged that he would lose his job long before it was confirmed in a move that has drawn criticism from the LMA.
“I don’t know the details,” he said. “It was just surprising because in this kind of situation you want the managers to be informed first, eye to eye, as we are used to. It didn’t look like it was like that. What I regret the most is he has been sacked.”
According to the UEFA study, June is the most common month for a coach to lose his job, followed by May and December.
"Everyone involved in football wants to win," UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino said in the foreword of the report, "but when we look at the last three years of club football and see almost 2,000 head coach changes and combined club losses of more than 4 billion euros ($5.5 billion), it is clear that the football family needs more stability, less short-term thinking and better financial sustainability."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.