Kieran Davies asks if the buck stops with the manager then why isn’t he allowed to manage?

It started with an over-bearing Russian whose influence on first team matters increased that much there were plenty at Stamford Bridge who wouldn’t have been surprised had he named himself in their starting line-up. Now though it seems it’s not just the chairman affecting day to day footballing matters, a new beast has arisen to complicate matters also………the Director of Football.

Look at Tottenham Hotspur, during the summer. Daniel Levy was praised for the way he added new recruits to the squad before agreeing the sale of their talisman Gareth Bale, which had he done the other way around would surely have only inflated every price of every player they enquired about. There is never a truer saying than ‘you never know what goes on behind closed doors’ unless you’re wondering what happens in a greenhouse. This has been proved to be the case with Tottenham Hotspur as they added their ‘magnificent 7’ marquee of new signings during the last transfer window. Fans were positive and really thought they had something to look forward to this season even without their Welsh wing wizard, what a difference a couple of months make! Little did we know that the majority of these signings weren’t even wanted by the manager and were in fact the vision of Daniel Levy.

This is one guy who definitely believes his own hype far too much and positions himself too far up the untouchable list of people who are imperative to the club’s success. In fact he is all that is wrong with football nowadays. All he is doing is dealing the cards for the manager and then coming down on him like a tonne of bricks when he doesn’t make a good poker hand out of the cards he’s dealt. Spurs fans should be used to these shady characters, after all they did also used to employ Damien Comolli. Now while he will claim he ‘spotted’ Gareth Bale’s talent, that is a bold claim anyone without glaucoma could make in all fairness.

Too many of these people claim the accolades for the signing of the latest big name to grace the Premier League. With media and social media as it is nowadays, it is very rare that a player is picked from obscurity to become a household name and this was the case with Bale. Anyone with a TV could see his talents week in, week out. The reality is apart from the extremely young talents spotted by scouts across the land, established first team players in the professional game do not go so un-noticed.

Levy was very similar to Comolli in that they both thought they were the most important people at the club and constantly have fallen out with managers and players alike. To quote Alex Ferguson (something I won’t do often unless looking for a recommendation of a good whiskey) ‘I am the most important man at Manchester United. It has to be that way’ and I totally agree with the sour faced Scot on this occasion.

Irrelevant to your role at the club the buck should and still should stop with the manager. It is his vision that the club should be striving to achieve and if you don’t believe in his vision then certainly questions must be asked of the man who appointed him. The kneejerk reaction Spurs made to a humbling hiding by Liverpool has the potential to set Spurs back some way from where they were this time last season. They were going places and although they only achieved Champions League qualification the once for the last couple of seasons they have been competing for those places, something they had never done before.

Now a new manager has to come in who may not fancy the £110m worth of talent AVB and mainly Comolli, I mean Levy bought in the summer. You have to assume that a new manager will not be given such a war chest as AVB as that is just not sustainable at any club in the world. So whoever takes on this poisoned chalice will have to work with the current squad and no doubt will also have the constant battles with Daniel Levy to deal with too. A lot of the talk of the acrimonious sacking of AVB was related amongst other things with the lack of opportunities he was giving Emanuel Adebayor while his team were seeming to do their best impression of the Territorial Army by firing blanks week after week.

Never should a Director of Football or for that matter anyone within the club other than the manager have any say in who is involved in matchday squads. The thought of AVB being given players he didn’t even want for quite large sums of investment reminds me of the Texan cowboys Liverpool were unlucky enough to be owned by who signed Robbie Keane when it was blatantly obvious from the outset the manager didn’t want or fancy him at all. This makes a mockery of a club who wouldn’t be in existence without their loyal fans buying matchday tickets, merchandise etc etc. The title Director of Football came in from the European game and has caused nothing but trouble at football clubs up and down the country. Let’s just remember how much Newcastle fans appreciated the ‘Cockney mafia’ after all and it seems to a common trait that this is a very unpopular position with managers, players and fans alike. Who is the decision maker when it comes to transfers? Who is suggesting the potential signings?

The role itself seemed to come in to protect owners from haemorrhaging money in the transfer market with managers who thought they were playing Sports Interactive’s latest offering of Football Manager. There may be unique situations where this position has worked well at the club but it is not something we see any of the successful clubs singing from the rooftops about. Now we take a look at the owners themselves.

As mentioned earlier in the article Roman Abramovic is synonymous with getting too involved with footballing matters. However, he now has a new pretender to his throne……please stand up Vincent Tan. Never has anyone been more unpopular than Tan is now since Maggie Thatcher closed down the coalmines! But really this guy does beggar belief. Firstly he buys into the sleeping giant and makes promise after promise of cash investment yet up until this last summer transfer window Cardiff fans didn’t really see the man with the highest waistline in Europe back his promises up. Not content with the waxing lyrical he then decided to change the image of the club completely.

Now a club’s image is not something you can change as it is part of their history and who they are yet the Malaysian was quick to rid the club of its famous bluebird emblem and change the colour of their kit from blue to red. All for superstition factor in the Far East. I appreciate football is now a global business and it is imperative for successful clubs to have coverage and support across the various continents but not at the expense of your club’s identity. No club is anything without its identity and history that is for sure.

As an outsider looking in, I personally think Malky Mackay has done a sterling job in Cardiff’s first attempt at competing in the Premier League and they look like a side capable of securing their Premier League status for the next season providing nothing goes drastically wrong. Cue Vincent Tan. He firstly sacks their Head of Recruitment Iain Moody citing overspending in the transfer market as his rationale. Then he seems to try and give the position to his son’s mate who is more likely to know more about the career of TV character Borat than he is any European footballer. Finally he appears to give the manager an ultimatum of either resign or be sacked.

This has outraged the fans and at this moment in time the fans are wishing for more simpler times without Vincent Tan at the helm even if it meant being in a much lower division. That is a big statement from a side whose fans have craved this shot at the Premier League big time. The sacking of Mackay may be the final straw to break the camel’s back for the fans, Tan needs to take note ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you!’