Do We Blame Manager's Too Much?

When a football club lose, it is hard to pinpoint where, or whom with, exactly the larger portion of blame lies. Yet for some reason, it generally appears that football managers are the ones held responsible for poor performances, losses, relegation and the like.

Given that the manager is stood on the sideline for 90 minutes while 11 other men are paid to score goals and defend attacks, it does not really seem feasible that the man on the sideline is wholly responsible for shambolic performances.
Are we guilty of scape-goating?
While a manager is undeniably responsible for selecting the team, choosing the formations and tactics, and changing the game when the current tactics are not working, he is not the one that is playing football.

That is the job of his team, a team who are paid a large amount of money per week to play football - and to play it well.

Of course, football fans do direct blame at players however the manager is quite often criticised more.
A lot of a football managers work goes unnoticed, and sometimes they inherit chaotic situations. They can be dealing with difficult owners who have a ridiculously tight budget, with equally ridiculous expectations. There can be conflicting pressures to cut wage bills by terminating contracts and securing transfer deals by the owners, while fans insist that certain players stay at the club.

Undoubtedly managers are partially responsible for the outcome of a football match. They have the job of motivating players, improving footballer's performances, and making the right decisions during a match that is going wrong.

The point is, they are not responsible for every loss, for every poor performance and for each individual player.

Footballer's are responsible for their own performances, yet fans seem more comfortable blaming the manager than their own players.

This could be due to the celebrity status of footballers - the idea that they are role models, they are people that children aspire to be like. Many people do not wish to insult or criticise their role model as it is someone they personally look up to, and perhaps see an element of themselves in.

There could also be an additional factor of more communication between players and fans than managers and fans. The rise of social media, particularly twitter, has meant that footballers are able to have stronger relationships with fans through competitions, question and answer sessions and general media interaction.

Football managers however tend to steer clear of social media, bar a few Non League football managers who appear to be both successful at their job and at maintaining a relationship with fans.

Social media could indeed play a huge part in this scapegoating - since football players use social media to share aspects of their lives and converse with fans, it makes them more of a person. They are not just a player, they are a person with feelings and with opinions. Therefore fans may be less inclined to direct abuse at them for fear of their idols seeing it.

Managers however have far less of an engagement with fans, which creates a distance between them and football viewers. Fans have less of a chance to speak to them, therefore they are less 'real' in a sense, so the criticisms directed at them may be seen as more acceptable.

Regardless of why this scape-goating of managers occurs, it is worth remembering that every Saturday fans are paying around £15-£30 on average for a ticket to watch eleven men play football, not to watch a manager on a sideline.


  1. Agree with just about everything! The manager does have some effect on the outcome of a match but get criticized way too much compared to how lightly players get off.

    David Moyes is a prime example, he may not have made all the right decisions but the players are the ones playing badly.

  2. Definitely, the manager certainly is responsible for a portion of the outcome of a match but not wholly.