#7 – Let the Fans Manage the Club

Posted on November 11, 2011 by


We’ve all experienced it while in the stands or watching on TV. The manager of your beloved club has decided to play 4-5-1 at home in the derby, and is playing that longhaired clown of a striker up front on his own. It’s a tad, shall we say, frustrating.

Every football fan sees them self as a Brian Clough or a Marcelo Lippi in the making. If they were only given a chance, they’d lead their club to a league and cup double…well I certainly would anyway.

When Championship manager was released in 1992, it was like crack to the geeky football fan. Whispers of, “Just one more game” lead to an extra four hours of play and the sleep induced purchase of Darren Peacock….what was I thinking? As time’s gone on the series has became more in depth and more addictive. This has lead to the average fan having an abundance of football knowledge, with the ability to choose players and tactics for different opposition domestically and inEurope. So, what I’m trying to say is, do we really need the manager?

The idea of fans picking the team has been put into practise before and with some success. Ebbsfleet United were the guinea pigs of the Myfootballclub.com experiment that started in 2007. The idea was that by paying a yearly membership, you would receive a vote regarding transfers, tactics and team selection. The gimmick eventually wore off but not before Ebbsfleet had one of their best season, winning the FA trophy in their first trip to Wembly, which was in part due to majority voting by the fans.

The reason people lost interest in the Ebbsfleet experiment is because, ultimatley, they didn’t have any real emotional connection to the club. It was a curious idea but unless you have a hand in the success and failure of YOUR club, you will never really be totally committed.

Whenever a new manager is appointed at a club, they assess the squad, get rid of the dead wood and strengthen the weak areas of the team. The fans have usually been calling out for these changes for months, when the previous regime was driving the club into mid table mediocraty or relegation fodder. The majority of football fans are intelligent and can usually see where problems are developing on the pitch before the manager can. (Depending on the manager of course)

The managerial merry go round that goes on every season has reached a nuclear level. The era of a manager staying at a club for a long numer of years is well and truly over. Clubs need stability and who better to move the club forward than the fans?

The supporters are quick to know if a player can cut it at their club or if they arent fit enough to wear the sacred jersey. They will always let the players and the manager know how they feel, one way or another. As a Celtic fan, in recent times, I have seen many imposters wearing the proud hooped jersey and bringing shame on it and the club. One of my favourite quotes of all time is from the late great Jock Stein who said,

“Celtic jerseys are not for second best, they don’t shrink to fit inferior players” 

That sums it up for me regarding the proud traditions of the club. The problem is that certain managers, in the last few years, have brought in players and clearly stuck their Jerseyin a 40-degree short wash cycle. (I assume that’s how you shrink a football top)

The fans could see these players just weren’t good enough to play for Celtic but the manager couldn’t. There were players on the bench or in the reserves who would’ve done a better job than the dross on the pitch, so it’s not like the manager didn’t have options. (Barry Robson we miss you) He just didn’t realise what it took to play for such a prestgious club. (Adam Virgo and Fortune clearly didn’t have it)

Managers come and go but the only thing constant about a football club is the supporters. That’s why the smart thing to do and the easist way to fix football would be to put the fans in charge, let them choose who plays for their club. Let’s get rid of the middle man.

As the great Jock Stein once famously said,

“Football is nothing without fans” 

I agree.

By Chris Gallagher. You can follow Chris on Twitter @SubSceneRecords.