The More it Changes the More it Stays the Same

Last updated : 01 November 2006 By Firparkcorner

Falkirk, St Mirren, Kilmarnock, Inverness, Aberdeen and Celtic will start this weekend's fixtures with a familiar guiding light in the dugout. The rest have managers with experiences ranging from months to hours. Dunfermline still a vacany.

A new job - what are your thoughts?

There is a longstanding belief in football that a new manager brings with him an initial burst of form. Players, it is said, try that wee bit harder in order that the new boss has a positive impression. But does a change make much of a difference in the longer term?

Would the present league standings be much different if Monsieur Le Guen was at Fir Park and Maurice Malpas was in control at Ibrox? Was there ever much doubt about the sad state of Dundee United or Dunfermline given their current playing staff?

We can agree that an exceptional manager can (by definition) produce exceptional results but that sad fact is that the effect lasts only for a limited time. In the long term it tends to be that the best players follow the big bucks and hence it is the norm that clubs who dominate their leagues are those with the biggest financial resources.

For most clubs the need to change the management team can be nothing more than window dressing. Directors have to be seen to be taking some action to remedy a dip in form. The anger and frustration of fans has to be appeased. The easy option is the removal of the manager.

The futility of the position is exposed when the new man is appointed. In general one ‘failing' manager is replaced by another. Levein gets the sack and moves to United.. Calderwood and Jeffries take the grand tour too. Brewster is thrown out of Tannadice and (unbelievably) he seems to be in the running for the East End job – unless Butcher gets the heave from Sydney and decides to come back to Scotland.

Plus ça change....