Mar '13

Oligarch of the Flies

One of the first pieces of advice I am always asked to give a client is how to announce an interim manager.

And mostly the concern is that the interim can be effective, which roughly translates as how do you make sure they have the appropriate authority; the flip side of that is how does a client make sure they do NOT undermine the interim’s authority. Interims cost money, clients wants results.

I always say…”It’s easy, just don’t duck it.  You announce them, you tell the workforce they are interim, you tell the workforce the interim has absolute authority, and you back the interim”.  OK, so you know where this is, going.

The world is full of interim football managers; David Pleat a couple of times for Spurs, and then some Chelsea ones such as Guus Hiddink, Avram Grant, Roberto di Matteo; oh, wait, we seem to have a theme.

So, Rafa was hired and announced as an interim…and… then nothing; so that’s when it all went wrong.  The same permanent employees who have undermined countless full time managers in the past were not told who’s boss, again.  It is arguable whether they have EVER been told who the boss is since the departure or the Special One but the interesting thing is that we didn’t hear of issues with other interim managers, just the permanent ones!  Anarchy rules, Lord of the flies.

So hats off to Mr Mancini who at least took a stance against a recalcitrant employee or two.  Take a bow Mr Levy and Sir Alex for making players understand they are assets of a club that can be sold at a profit when it suits the paymasters not the mercenaries, and a big raspberry to indulgent dandies who think that money can cure all and buy everything.  It can’t.  I’m tempted to open a debate about the difference between price and value, but as my Great Auntie Elsie used to say “money is the root of all evil”.

So if Raffa walks through my door in the summer looking for a new contract I will tell him his reputation is intact; it really is not not tarnished at all and it is the employer who takes the blame for not having the courage or ability to back the man he hired.

Oh, and Raffa, enjoy the pay-off; and Oh, Roman, if you want another interim manager please give me a call, I can save you a lot of heartache and, maybe, even preserve some money.

PS. The good news for Chelsea fans: Chelsea FC were founded in 1905; given a fair wind they could continue to exist for a few more centuries; Mr Abramovich won’t, so maybe you will get peace in another life.

Interim Managers rule. OK!  Remember, it was an interim who won the Champions League!!

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