GLF73: Derek reckons that 'here today, gone tomorrow' managers may not be a bad thing.
Is 'next season' the new long-term?
There is a frequently heard refrain when discussing struggling managers that they need time to build their side and that it is unfair to judge them until they have had two or even three seasons in the job.This can usually be written off as people in the media sticking up for their mates - if there ever was a time when boards or supporters would tolerate three years of mediocrity in the name of building a side, it is surely gone now.
However, while there has always been the threat of bigger clubs poaching star players, the lack of money in the Scottish game has surely made building a team over the long term practically impossible.Few clubs can afford to offer long-term contracts to more than a handful of players and with the English lower league teams currently having budgets beyond the dreams of SPL chairmen, it is not surprising that several of the best Scottish players promptly move to Championship, or even League One, clubs of a modest standing.
So if the days of a Tommy McLean type manager carefully crafting and developing a side over a number of years are gone, what does that leave us with?The Mark McGhee model of revitalising a struggling side, with a few key but short-term signings, before the manager and players move on again. That is initially a little depressing but on closer inspection it may not be a bad thing after all.
Of course, it's preferable that the 'Well manager shows more respect to the fans than McGhee did but that does not alter the main point. The pace of the world has changed; people, used to instant communication and 24 hour news, are more impatient and less willing than ever to wait for success. Jim Gannon has rightly received credit for saying he wants to build the side up - given what he arrived to he had no choice! - but his signings so far are mainly one year contracts and loan deals which expire in January.
He would no doubt point out that the loan players we have brought in are better than what he could have picked up permanently but if we cannot then afford to sign these guys come January, we are looking at starting again almost from scratch.Combine this with clubs in England no doubt already taking note of Forbes, Hutchison, Saunders et al and the manager's hopes to build long-term is looking as unlikely as it is ambitious.
But if he can repeat what Mark McGhee achieved with his partnership of loan players and promising youngsters before returning to a club in England in two years, would we not all be delighted?The problem of another managerial search brought on by short-term success is little in comparison to the problems of being stuck in a turgid battle around tenth - just ask Kilmarnock...
Visit the GLF archive. Hundreds of articles.