“Football is a massive part of many people’s lives and with that comes the strongest of opinions because, in short, it seriously matters to many.”
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The debate over whether football pundits should call for the sacking of managers has roared in this past week since Manchester United’s humiliating 5-0 home defeat by Liverpool.
Gary Neville is at the heart of it all. He has not called out Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but has stated on social media that his intention is to practice decency.
Phil, Phil’s brother, joined the discussion and said: “If you were in any other workplace and walked into a shop and said, ‘I want you to be sacked’, I think you would be reported to the police.”
Football is a massive part of many people’s lives and with that comes the strongest of opinions because, in short, it seriously matters to many.
So why are some claiming that the managers’ rung on the football industry ladder is one that should be treated differently to the others?
This is the claim, it is not.
There is a difference in the way words are used, such as ‘he should be sacked’Or ‘the club needs a better manager’Respect is not about a lack of respect, but they all mean the same thing.
I admire Neville’s loyalty to Solskjaer.
If I was commenting on the work of a friend or ex-teammate, I would probably be just as honest.
However, we need to be honest with ourselves and call it as it is.
Pundits love to tell a player that he is not good enough for the club.
Simon Mignolet’s comments during his time at Liverpool are something I still remember. We would be naive to think that that doesn’t have an impact on a player’s career.
The same goes for pundits who are happy to suggest that agents, owners, or chief executives should all go. Why should managers be kept apart from all this?
It can’t be an empathy based on money – top-flight managers are already very wealthy people.
It can’t be an empathy based on career prospects – top-flight managers are extremely likely to get another job if they want one.
In short, I can’t see the justification behind protecting managers from this level of criticism.
Like life, all criticisms should always be treated with respect, keeping in mind that there are people and families at the other end.
Gary Lineker tweeted, “Football pundits should not be berated for not demanding a manager be sacked. It’s not a prerequisite of the job.”
We shouldn’t expect pundits to call for the sacking of a manager but at the same time, we should expect them to be transparent about their reasons in not doing so, whether it be loyalty or friendship.
This argument is not about decency if it is made.
The most important thing is the players.
Professional sport is a reality. Nearly everyone will be questioned about their position at one point or another.
Everyone knows and accepts that – and managers should not be any different.