Football Managers 'Obsessed' With The Beautiful Game, Survey Finds

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20th November 2012 14:34 - Sport, Leisure and Tourism

A survey conducted by the League Managers Association and Castrol has given a captivating insight into the minds and working of top level football managers. 

A staggering 72% of those who responded admitted to being 'obsessed' with the game, and six out of ten said they struggled to lead a balanced lifestyle. 

LMA chairman Howard Wilkinson has experienced this first hand, having managed high profile clubs such as Leeds United, Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday. He said that many managers naturally become masters in the art of social deception. 

"There are many things that you become very good at, particularly in a social situation or, even worse, at home. You develop the ability to be seen as engrossed in the conversation but one part of your brain will be thinking about something to do with the club."

Some of the main pressures that managers face were identified in the findings, with super-wealthy, all controlling club owners cited as the biggest challenge that 21st century managers face. Patience is most definitely a virtue, however not a commodity when it comes to results in the game, and as such has seen the average managerial tenure in England almost halve, from three years in 1992 to just nineteen months now. 

Refereeing decisions were also raised as a concern, as bad or harsh decisions that ultimately effect the result of a game can decide the future of a manager, and almost always in a negative way. Some of the English respondents suggested a solution to this problem - the establishment of a professional referee training academy, funded by the Premier League. 

This could clear up some confusion in relation to the laws of the game, as 83% said that the handball rule requires further clarification, and 65% deemed the 'triple jeopardy law' (penalty, sending off as a result, suspension) unfair punishment when deemed to have 'denied a goalscoring opportunity'. 

An overwhelming 62% of respondents supported the introduction of goal-line and video technology, and 63% said that football should consider using a decision referral system so that referees could clarify key incidents. 

Not only did the survey assess managers' on field opinions, but also their off-field ones. UEFA's financial fair play rules were also discussed, with 61% expressing their belief that the rules could work, and the same number felt that a salary cap should be introduced (although this is an unlikely scenario due to EU legislation). FFP does seem to be a vital issue, however, after the latest figures showed that 56% of 665 clubs posted losses in 2010, and 78 clubs were shown to be spending more than 100% of their income on wages. 

Wilkinson added, "If we don't start to move to a more sensible and moral approach to finance, where is it going to end? It's not a bottomless pit. For me, it's reform or Armageddon." 

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