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How to Be a Modern Premier League Manager: A Guide

31/10/2014 17:40 GMT | Updated 31/12/2014 10:59 GMT

In today's big-money, high-stakes footballing world, managers come and go from clubs almost as fast as Nicolas Anelka.

At the time of writing, 13 of the Premier League's 20 managers have been at their clubs for less than two years. When you expand that view to the entire Football League, it becomes 68 of 92. Almost 44% have been at their clubs for less than a year. ​The firing culture has gone mad.

Is there a way for managers to keep some semblance of job security in such a volatile market? Why, for example, is it that David Moyes was castigated for lying eighth with 14 points after nine games and £27m spent, whereas Louis van Gaal is under nowhere near as much pressure despite spending nearly £150m and actually having less points (13) than Moyes at the same stage?

To continue with the Manchester United example for a second, one factor in a manager's retention seems to be the perceived 'quality' of the football that their side plays.

It's okay to lose to Leicester and MK Dons you see, as long as you entertain the crowd while you do it. That sounds facetious, but it's actually, to an extent, true.

If Moyes' "boring" style of play had taken United to 5th in the league last year, he would almost certainly have still been axed. If van Gaal matches last year's seventh placed finish, but has the side playing 'better' football while he does it, will he face the chop too? Somehow, you doubt it.

So there we go, that's rule number one. Keep the crowds entertained, even if it means throwing away points. What else helps?

A moderate first transfer window seems to be strangely important to a lot of fans. You mustn't be seen to spend too little for fear of being accused of a lack of ambition (see: Moyes again), but if you're going to splash the cash you have to be able to produce almost immediate results.

For prime examples of managers falling foul of this you don't have to look much further than most Chelsea managers of the last five years - but another look shows that while the first transfer window is the most important, every summer is a chance for things to go wrong.

Andre Villas-Boas at Spurs is basically the poster boy for unrealistic expectations cutting a good job short. The story's a fairly well-worn one at this point - he spent over £100m, the team didn't respond straight away and he was gone before January.

On the face of it he just paid the obvious price for poor transfer decisions, but he was actually much more unfortunate than that. For one thing, Spurs actually made a £10m profit in that transfer window - more talent left than arrived.

For another, his instruction was to build a team for the future, so he signed a handful of young players who needed developing. Mistake. Rule number two: if money doesn't buy you instant success, you can kiss your job goodbye.

There's another thing that can be learned from the last 12 months at White Hart Lane - coming in after a hated manager gives you an awful lot of leeway.

Mauricio Pochettino has had a pretty dreadful start to life at Spurs in terms of results, but he's been forgiven an awful lot because he's spent half of his time cleaning up the mess that Tim Sherwood and to an extent, AVB left him. He should, if Daniel Levy wants to see success at the club, be given more time. Will he? We'll see.

The same can be said for van Gaal and coming in after Moyes was the best possible situation for him. He is, in the eyes of many United fans, better in almost every way - wins or no wins. Rule number three: pick your job carefully.

So there we have it. The three most important rules for managers to follow in order to keep their jobs, regardless of overall results. 1) Play 'entertaining' football; 2a) be careful splashing the cash early on; 2b) if you do spend money, short-term success at first covers for a lot later; 3) come into a club in crisis and you can't possibly fail.

There's only one manager who springs to mind for all of this - and it's worked for him, spending at least two years at six out of his seven career posts. Step forwards...Harry Redknapp. You are the future. Football is doomed.

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