on 27 July 2010
A lot of self hype, quotes from a host of managers but not a great deal of end product. This book fails to provide the insights that one might hope in what is completely uncharted - at least from a literary standpoint - territory. What the book does do is provide a solid connection between management theory and the practice of football management with focus primarily placed on the difficulty of the job in such a high pressure situation and which aspects can be transferred into management theory whilst analysing the shortcomings of football and particularly managers and suggesting where improvements can be made.
There is no ground breaking new information to be had. The tables of managerial comings-and-goings are those seen annually in the tabloids without the gloss and merely serve to confirm what everyone knew already - the career of a manager is getting ever-shorter whilst the section on over-achievers compared to their budgets leaves a LOT to be desired, it is here that one notes the author's lack of football knowledge as little or no heed is paid to aspects such as continuity of the squad, continuity of staff, continuity of ownership, numbers of youth players in the first team, profit/loss on transfers, age and experience of players etc. which all influence how well a manager performs. Furthermore, the achievements of Ferguson and Wenger whilst acknowledged, are promptly disregarded when in fact, as the two most successful managers in the Premier League, they should be the focus.
The oft-mentioned 'Certificate in Applied Management' at Warwick Business School which was conceived and conducted by the author receives no detailed analysis and it is barely mentioned what managers learn or gain from the course other than knowing what a balance sheet is. This is particularly noteworthy as it is the premise of the entire book, the author notes that she is 'not a football person' and that much of the industry goings-on were foreign to her at the beginning so to utterly avoid the teaching methods used and what the author gained in knowledge makes the entire book slightly pointless.
So if you're interested in the connection between management theory and practice, this will be useful, however if you want more details on the inner workings of football management and the education related to the career, this book, falling short of it's own targets won't help.