The Managerial Connundrum

Whether you are Cox at Mansfield, Still at Luton, Foyle at Hereford United or the recently relegated at Aldershot and Barnet the managers lot is the same. Few managers can say they have the perfect budget, fewer still can command every penny of the yearly award.  The transfer season is a double edged sword. Players on contracts are a burden that eat into what you need, but those with the freedom to leave alter the balance of the squad and change the emphasis. Having spoken to a few managers over the last few years, the squad you want and the squad you get takes compromise and irons in fires left right and centre.

Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs


All managers know where they are financially, they have to, but Keith Alexander knew the weekly and monthly budget to the penny and never overspent. He knew in his head how much had already been chewed up and where the scope could come from to free up some, without any need to bother the chairman at any of the clubs he was at.  But then the great KA was a unique man, the like of which the people’s game will never see again.

Most would love a clean slate or the budget that top hatter Still enjoys, but he has a mess to sort and the heavy expectation of 6000 regulars. Cox also has to separate sentimentality from reality if the Stags stampede is to continue. Simmo, practically potless in comparison has a clean slate, Boyce (hopefully) and Robinson apart, so perhaps one legacy of Holdsworth, the 44 week contract, has worked in his favour.  Then again, has it, given Oliver,  Farman and Miller could walk? Power could, but won’t as he is settled in Lincoln and blossoming, starting to show some of the ability many know he has. Confidence is a wonderful thing, with more of it the late Richard Butcher would have achieved higher than Oldham that is for sure.

Once the manager has slotted in the pieces of the jigsaw, he will then know how much he has to play with. This will also have a huge influence on who he decides to keep, as he takes a look both collectively and individually.  The fans may moan about the retained and released lists, but all managers have to marry up what they have and what they can get.  Can he get better for the money for instance, as a Joe Average might be a handy Jack of all trades even if he is a master of none?

This is how players can suddenly seem to be frozen out as the ‘moving on’ process goes on behind the scenes.  There are some brilliant antics employed by managers, including club procedure and engineered personality, formation and even sympathy issues, not to mention incredible psychological ploys – all in the club’s best interest of course. For legal reasons one cannot divulge on many ‘manager blags’ although Chris Sutton had Richard Butcher and, the now Hereford captain Sam Clucas endlessly running around a field. Character building stuff eh?  It works the other way too of course, with players becoming sick-notes who are so ill that even the magic cold sponge cannot help (some miss-sprayed Ralgex to a thigh industry has also worked temporary wonders).  When it comes to pulling the sickie the hamstring is the undoubted and almost undetectable favourite.  Nothing that a good sprint coach cannot sort of course.

Simmo does not have the best of budgets, bottom third in the BSP is the long and short of it, although he has the power of persuasion and a good knowledge of the lower Leagues and France. On the face of it £400,000 equates to £384 per week. In reality it gives scope for a much greater spread.  Some sign for as little as £250 a week at our level with non contract players getting just appearance fees, expenses board and keep. Now you can see why Keith was such a genius, because £150 an appearance for 6 weeks will allow for a loan deal, before you offer the lad the security of a contract for half a season. Garry learned from the best it has to be said.

Loans are also a great liberator for those on a shoestring. Chris Sutton got several freebies (board and keep apart), although the norm is anything up to 50% of the weekly wage. This is paid monthly on invoice, with the added benefit of the player rarely getting bonuses.  Many parent clubs will insist the player is in the starting line-up to get the much needed experience a loan is designed for.  Pulling a player back, is something the Imps have fallen foul of in the past.  There will be many battling midfielders and strikers out there this summer who are running down the last year of their contract on a thousand a week. A four to five hundred a week offer until January will appeal to a manager and his pocket calculator more than any old blarney about trying before buying.

Posted on April 30, 2013, in Manager's pearls of wisdom, Uncategorized, Writers - Neil Gentleman-Hobbs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: