TO BE FRANK: Louis Van Gaal under pressure? Even success can’t buy bosses time these days

Opinion
Opinion

Bob Frank offers his thoughts on the crazy world of football management and leadership...

The odds of Louis van Gaal ending the season at Old Trafford were slashed after Manchester United’s capitulation at Premier League new boys Leicester on Sunday but I’m sure many other managers will be sacked long before he gets the bullet.

The average tenure for a Premier League manager lasts just one-and-a-half seasons, which means most top-flight clubs fork out large sums in compensation.

With a huge financial gulf between the Premier League and the Championship, club chairmen who are desperate to avoid the drop are often quick to fire their managers.

But the last few days have seen Championship sides Cardiff and Fulham part company with the men they brought in to try to keep them in the Premier League.

The latter could even be heading for League One at this rate, following Felix Magath’s disastrous spell at the club and he was ridiculed this week for allegedly telling a player to treat a thigh injury by putting cheese doused with alcohol on it.

I dare say alcohol is a cure many Fulham fans dismayed by his shambolic reign will find helpful.

I was amused to see Leyton Orient have turned down three approaches from Cardiff for their manager Russell Slade.

Barely a week earlier Slade was apparently being told he had just two games to save his job at Orient yet now the club are turning down approaches for him.

Instead of paying compensation to him they could have been receiving it for him, but they appear to have realised he would have been a hard man to replace at Brisbane Road.

Slade has done a great job for the League One outfit and took them to Wembley Stadium for last season’s play-offs yet just a month into the new campaign his job has supposedly been under threat.

At times managers can do too good a job and I won’t be at all surprised if Sean Dyche loses his job this season.

He did brilliantly to get Burnley promoted to the Premier League but if they go down, or are in danger of being relegated, he may well pay the price.

Sometimes sacking a popular manager proves a correct decision though. I, along with many others, thought Southampton were crazy to get rid of Nigel Adkins, who had taken them up two divisions into the Premier League.

Mauricio Pochettino proved a fine replacement and has since moved to Spurs, but Southampton continue to thrive.

Despite losing several of their stars they have made an excellent start to the season, unlike Manchester United who have failed to fire despite spending more than £200 million this summer.

They appear to have the philosophy of Kevin Keegan during his first spell as Newcastle manager – never mind about defending.

Keegan’s attitude was: if the opposition score three, we’ll score four.

United’s need for defensive signings becomes more evident with every match and their lack of planning is incredulous.

They knew many months ago that Nemanja Vidic was leaving while Rio Ferdinand’s departure was no surprise, not that he would have been good enough anyway as he is past his best.

Personally, I wouldn’t pick Wayne Rooney as captain of Manchester United, let alone England.

He’s a decent enough player but I don’t consider the snarling, foul-mouthed, over-hyped, over-paid striker to be an inspirational leader.

I would also argue that Rooney is hardly a role model or ideal choice to be England captain . . . but then again John Terry skippered the national team.

It seems leadership really is a funny old game...