Following news that David Moyes has been sacked as Manchester United manager after a terrible season, why didn’t the club appoint a contract interim manager in the first place, rather than risking a costly and disruptive transition period?
What happened to Manchester United?
After a mere ten months in charge of last year’s Premier League champions, David Moyes was sacked as manager earlier this week, to be replaced (on a temporary basis) by Ryan Giggs.
The club has suffered one of its worst seasons in memory, and Moyes himself will receive up to £5m in compensation.
So, why should the arrival of a a new manager, following the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, result in a collapse from easy Premier League winners last year, to seventh-place mediocrity?
Also, was it wise to replace one regime (Ferguson’s) with a completely new one, complete with new backroom staff, without a reasonable transition period?
Jason Atkinson, former chairman of the Interim Management Association, and MD of Russam GMS, asked himself these very questions, and says that the news “brings into question the high salaries and rewards paid to senior executives for failure.”
An interim should have been appointed after Ferguson’s departure
Atkinson told us that an interim management appointment would have been a far more cost-effective solution for the club’s board, instead of “what has turned into a costly full time employee mistake.”
It was always going to have been a very difficult task to take over management of the club from Ferguson, who was at the helm for 26 years. Atkinson suggests that the board should have put in place an interim manager, whilst taking their time to select a permanent manager.
“This would have meant business as usual, rather than a complete change in management style, letting things settle down after Ferguson’s departure and taking some time to recruit the right person.”
Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Watching Ryan Giggs today at his first press conference – it is clear that he will make the perfect interim manager. He has the respect of the team, board, and the fans.
Had Giggs been appointed last summer, the transition between the old and new regimes would almost certainly have been far smoother, and most ‘pundits’ suggest that the team might well have ended the season with a Champions League slot for 2014/15.
Much has been made of David Moyes’ compensation. It is likely that he will be paid around £4.5 – £5m. A clause in his contract limited his pay-off to this figure if the team failed to qualify for the Champions League. Tellingly, he was sacked just hours after losing to his former club, Everton, last weekend. This result ensured that qualification to Europe’s premium tournament would be mathematically impossible.
However, an interim manager would not have been entitled to a pay-off at all. An interim would command a sizeable daily rate for his efforts, but would not be eligible for any ’employee’ benefits such as pensions or holiday pay… and certainly not compensation.
What now for Ryan Giggs, the interim manager?
So, what advice does Jason Atkinson have for United, and Ryan Giggs in particular?
“As any successful interim knows, Ryan Giggs should now be spending his time identifying quick wins to build up the morale of everyone at United as the season comes to a close. He must unify everyone again and have a clear mission and purpose. Giggs was part of Manchester United’s success story in the past and he can hopefully step into the role of leader easily and help the team get back on their feet and end the season on a more positive note.”
Written by James Leckie, with contributions from Jason Atkinson.