Town chief Still lashes out at manager expectations, punditry and trial by TV

Expectations for almost all managers are higher than ever according to Town chief John Still, writes Mark Wood.

Sunday, 1st December 2013, 4:00 pm

With increased fan and media pressure he urged all chairmen and chief executives to give their bosses time in order to get results, while criticising the football pundits who place managers on trial by TV.

Still said: “I don’t think management is getting harder, I don’t think so, but I think the demands on management are much harder. I was unfortunate and fortunate, I packed up playing early and got into management young.

“Touch wood, I’ve always worked, always been able to pick my club to a certain extent and I’ve been at clubs normally for a reasonable amount of time, because I’m not one of these people that always looks at something else, I like to do the job I’m doing until that’s as far as it can go.”

And Still admitted he was amazed over the speculation of Andre Villas Boas at Tottenham Hotspur who was one minute being praised to the rafters and the next was seeing his future being questioned.

He continued: “But that’s how the game’s got. I look around aat I think some really, really good managers and I see the guy has gone from Crawley (Richie Barker). I like him, I think he’s good, they haven’t won enough games but how many games do they expect to win? I don’t know. I find that strange.

“And Portsmouth have been in disarray with the manager there Guy Whittingham just gone. I think that’s a tough job for any person, the expectation on managers is much higher than it used to be. And probably since the season started people have questioned David Moyes. They were questioning Arsene Wenger last year and after the first game of the season still questioning him and all of a sudden he’s a hero again, because he’s won a few games.

“You know what? I know it’s about winning and losing, but it can’t just be about that sometimes.

“Maybe with Arsene Wenger he’s been there a long time, and I understand that, so he will have built his thing so perhaps if that doesn’t go so well I can see.

“But for some managers trying to build the club and build things, it takes a long time to do that and get it how you want it, it does. I just feel that the expectation that placed on all manager’s now at all levels, I’m not sure that the expectation is the correct expectation.

“You get clubs that they get new managers, you sit down and say ‘what do you expect?’

“And if you reach that expectation or you exceed it, that becomes the new level. It shouldn’t be because their expectation’s been exceeded, they should almost stay there.

“So I think it has become a much more difficult job. Be careful what you wish for. I remember Tottenham got into the top four two years running, they got into Europe one year but unfortunately couldn’t get into Europe the next, so they changed Harry Redknapp. What a load of old rubbish that was.

“It’s crazy, they’d got in the top four. Never been in the top four before, but because they didn’t get into Europe because of someone else being in it and they couldn’t get into it, it’s crazy. And now they’re moaning about the manager again. So perhaps he’ll go and they’ll have a go with someone else.

“Why not stick with a manager for six, seven years and rebuild it properly.”

And Still believes that chairmen and chief executives have to be stronger and back their managers more vigorously and not give in to fan or media pressure.

He was also critical of pundit power, as he said: “I suppose it is fan and media power. Although I listen to them, I actually hate the pundit situation where they almost sit there and talk about managers not doing well and these are people that have done the job and not normally successfully or never done the job.

“So I’ve got to be honest, it’s a bugbear of mine. I don’t know some of them, but when I look back at some of the ex-players that do it, that were less than professional in their careers and they’re moaning about them.

“They ought to look back at themselves and look what they done, ‘that’s why I can do it’ they say, ‘I look back at what I done’. What a load of old rubbish that is.”

And Still also lashed out at the castigation of referees on television, adding: “I can’t stand this trial by television neither. Referees make mistakes and I’m the first one to say the referee’s made a mistake there. But it doesn’t matter if a referee has made a mistake or not, it’s whether Alan Hansen thinks he’s made a mistake.

“Well that’s crazy, there’s 10 different views, 10 different cameras, talk about referees between three or four people, it shouldn’t be allowed.

“You should never be allowed to hold trial for referees by television. I don’t think that should happen because the referee hasn’t got the benefit of it. It’s easy to criticise them, they might make mistakes, but I don’t think they should be able to look at what the referee does.

“I don’t agree with it, I think the pressure from all types of media and supporters affects the weak chairmen and weak directors. If they were strong and have a vision and know where they’re going that’s what they’ve got to stick by.

“And if they get influenced by outside influences it is because they are weak and that’s my little opinion.”