How Not To Appoint a Football Manager

How Not To Appoint a Football Manager

For most job vacancies, a role is advertised, interested parties apply, interviews are held and an appointment is made.

But the process of appointing a football manager remains rather ad hoc, none more so than in the case of David Moyes, who has had –- as baptisms of fire go – quite a grilling since succeeding Alex Ferguson at the helm of one of the world’s biggest clubs.

However, given United’s profile, not to mention its wealth – the club is ranked by Forbes as the second richest in the world – was the way Moyes was appointed the most risk-averse process?

United’s communication team failed to respond to CNN’s questions as to whether Moyes was the only manager considered for the job, whether there was ever a formal interview procedure, and if so who conducted it.

“There was unanimous agreement – David Moyes was the man,” writes Ferguson in his autobiography of the conversation that he had with the club’s owners – the Glazer family – as they discussed who should succeed him.

Ferguson also mentioned that he knew Moyes’ family: “They have a good family feel about them. I’m not saying that’s a reason to hire someone but you like to see good foundations in someone appointed to such high office.”

At the time of Moyes’ appointment, Ferguson outlined why his compatriot got the job, despite not having won a trophy in more than a decade at Everton.

“David is a man of great integrity with a strong work ethic. I’ve admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of assistant manager here,” Ferguson said.
“There is no question he has all the qualities we expect of a manager at this club.”

Ed Woodward, who was promoted to the role of club chief executive at the end of last season, also said Moyes had “all the skills needed to build on United’s phenomenal legacy,” but clearly the key to the 50-year-old’s appointment was Ferguson.

An incumbent playing such a big part in the appointment is unusual both in business and in football, but according to Tor-Kristian Karlsen – the former chief executive of French club Monaco – it was “natural it turned out that way” at United due to Ferguson’s “standing and achievement.

“By choosing Moyes – a manager rather than a head coach – Manchester United is trying to carry on with the management structure that proved successful for them for the past 25 years,” added Karlsen.

“Given the level of pressure, the sky-high expectations and the relentless stress of being solely in charge of the footballing side of one of the biggest clubs in the world, it’s no surprise that Moyes has had a difficult start to his United career.”

The skill is obviously to understand what type and profile of a manager/head coach is the right match to a given club, situation and squad, there are so many factors that play in. Especially considering that the movement of football coaches and managers is global.”