International Soccer
By Chris Ravita, Soccer Editor - Archive - Email
Patience: The lost virtue
Roberto Mancini Manchester City and Chelsea take two steps back whenever they sack a manager.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The 2012-13 season is not yet complete and the managerial merry-go-round already is in full effect.

It was revealed Monday that Roberto Mancini was sacked as manager of Manchester City, bringing his three-and-a-half-year tenure at the Etihad to a close.

The 48-year-old assumed control of the Citizens halfway through the 2009-10 season and rewarded the club for its faith with an FA Cup title the following campaign, City's first piece of silverware in 35 years. He one-upped himself a year later with the club's first league title in 44 years, which was made even sweeter given the dramatic nature in which it was clinched.

But for all the strides City has made in recent years, the club took a step back this term as Mancini failed to get his hands on a single trophy, save for the FA Community Shield back in August.

Mancini's spell at City feels like an unfinished one given the abruptness with which it ended, but a lack of patience has become quite customary among high-profile clubs.

The top three teams in England will see new bosses manning the touchline when the Premier League resumes in August. Along with City's forthcoming pursuit of a new chief, Chelsea will be in the market for a new boss to replace interim manager Rafa Benitez. Jose Mourinho appears to be the odds-on favorite to return to Stamford Bridge as his standing at Real Madrid remains on shaky ground, but why he'd want to make his way back to west London is something of a mystery.

Roman Abramovich's decade as Chelsea owner has not been synonymous with stability as the club has recycled through 10 managers during that time.

And it's not as if Chelsea has been terribly unsuccessful during the last 10 years, either - the Blues have picked up three Premier League titles, four FA Cup crowns and a Champions League title in the Abramovich era. But the Russian billionaire seems content to continue with the revolving door of bosses regardless of what trophies they put in front of him.

Abramovich puts himself at a proverbial crossroads virtually every summer with the option of retaining the club's manager or sending him packing. Manchester City found itself at a similar locale this week following the club's disappointing loss to Wigan in Saturday's FA Cup final. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, City's owner, could have kept Mancini on board as a sign of faith despite the Italian's failure to win a trophy this season, but he instead opted to look elsewhere.

Mansour must not be a Premier League history buff. If he was, he'd know that constant managerial rotation is not the proper way to build a club. Stability is what wins out, and the model template of success in England's top flight resides just five miles from the Etihad.

Manchester United, the third club in the Premier League welcoming a new boss to the fold next term, learned last week that Sir Alex Ferguson would be hanging up his wristwatch after 26-and-a-half years at the helm of Old Trafford, opening the door for David Moyes to lead the Red Devils.

Ferguson's managerial success is so great that it overshadows the club's barren spells (yes, there were a couple of those). It is often forgotten that the club was teetering on the brink of relegation in December 1989 during his second full season at the club. While the Red Devils managed to stay up, Ferguson failed to win a trophy for the second straight full season, leaving many to question his future at United.

But the club eventually claimed the title in 1993, sparking 20 more years of unrivaled success. And yet, it's fair to wonder how United would have fared had the club not afforded Ferguson time to right the ship.

It is precisely that level of patience that is lacking among many top Premier League clubs. Mansour and Abramovich are attempting to build Rome in a day when it is clear that optimal success is achieved over the long term.

Stability at the managerial position has helped United take two steps forward whenever a barren spell brings the club one step back. On the flip side, City and Chelsea take two steps back whenever they sack a manager after an unsuccessful season.

Patience has guided United to the top of the table this season, and while the Red Devils won't win the title every year, they still will be more successful over the long haul as long as Moyes receives the same benefit as his predecessor.

That virtue is lost upon Manchester City and Chelsea.

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