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Is the “Premier League manager” becoming a thing of the past?

Photo: Ronnie Macdonald

Well, some might feel a bit surprised at the title, others might feel intrigued at the idea of the Premier League managers turning into remnants of the past. However, for the ardent football fans this title – rather, this trend – might ring a bell and remind them of some instances in past which justify putting forth the bold question. This would be all the more true for gamblers and punters who follow Premier League betting odds, and keeping a track of how the manager’s role is being side-lined. In this article, we have made an attempt to see why and how exactly that change is being brought about.

A Shift in the Trend

As recently as May, Unai Emery was given the baton at Arsenal, but in the capacity of head coach rather than in the capacity of a manager. He replaced Arsene Wenger, who was labelled as the manager of the club for the last 22 years. Another example can be taken by Maurizio Sarri stepping into the shoes of Antonio Conte as the leader of Chelsea. Though he leads the team, he has retained the tag of head coach.

Out of the top rung of English football clubs, Emery and Sarri are among the six head coaches, and 14 other clubs have retained the position of “manager”, for now. Though the number are a minority, it does represents a shift and a trend that the official boss of the team is now moving away from an overarching role of overseeing every activity of the club.

Is there any actual difference?

Mauricio Pochettino changed his title from head coach to manager in 2016 when his contract with Tottenham was extended. He commented that since the time he had been associated with the club, he was more of a manager than just a coach. Well, the difference in the role of coach and a manager might arise in terms of dealing with affairs such as recruitment and transfers. A manager is responsible for various issues of the like nature, as opposed to simply coaching. One rumour behind why Antonio Conte stepped down from his position of manager is because of him not being given the autonomy that a manager wields.

This can also be seen in how Arsenal have created two divisions – head coach (Emery) and head of football relations (Raul Sanllehi), with the two dealing with the different aspects of the game. This rift in managing power and coaching players is also seen at teams like Everton and West Ham, where major decision such as transfers are not taken by the manager or any single person.

Is the Premier League actually witnessing a change?

In light of the above incidents it can be said without a doubt that Premier League football is definitely witnessing a change. Garry Neville, the former Manchester United and England defender, has spent a considerable time studying the different models being employed by football clubs, and he too believes in this changing dynamic of football. He opines that coaches minds are preoccupied with pressing matters such as choosing their teams, training sessions, etc. Hence it becomes taxing for them to take care of matters such as future signings and contract negotiations on top of this.

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About Louis East (1300 Articles)
Editor of MLSGB.com. Premier League and MLS reporter.

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