Understanding Interim Management Through Football

It may appear that the only people who really know about interim management are those who work in high powered positions within business.  However, if we look to sport then it’s easy to see some mainstream examples of this business practice in action. Within the world of professional football, there are often sudden managerial changes, either due to a manager leaving to take a position at a new club, or due to a sacking. In either case, most often someone is appointed in an interim or caretaker capacity until a permanent appointment is made.

Set clear goals

No matter the situation, the interim manager will be given a clear set of goals to achieve during their tenure. Dick Advocaat was appointed to Sunderland FC towards the end of the 2014/15 season with the club in danger of being relegated. His objective was simply to keep the club within the English Premier League.  When an interim manager is appointed within a business, they will also be set clear objectives during the appointment process which they will be expected to meet during the course of the assignment.

Steady the ship

With the departure of a manager, there is likely to be unrest within a team, particularly if he has left them in a bad position. In these circumstances, it is the job of the interim manager to help put the club back on an even footing. This will involve bringing calm to the dressing room and taking a new approach with the players, and most likely making some personnel changes on the pitch. This manager will know that their time in the job is temporary, and will therefore be making the best decisions for the short term benefits of the club, even if that means some of the decisions are unpopular.

Buy time

After the departure of a manager, the club will look to make a permanent appointment. Just as in the world of business, the ideal candidate is not always available immediately. Negotiations must be undertaken to free a manager from their existing role or a club may have to wait until a manager finishes their current position before they can take on a new role. Such was the case with Louis van Gaal as he remained the manager of Netherlands until the end of the Brazil 2014 World Cup before taking up his new job as manager of Manchester United. In this case, the interim manager must keep things progressing until the new manager is ready. 

Appoint people with relevant experience

Chelsea FC has had a high turnover of managers, but they remain successful due to the appointment of experienced interim managers, before getting the person they want to take them forward. Rafael Benitez was appointed in the 2012/13 season following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo. Benitez had experience within the English game and successes in Europe. Although he was not a popular appointment, he was given the objective to get his charges into the Champions League qualification places in the league. He did this by finishing in third place and also picked up a trophy along the way by winning the Europa League.

Within business, interim managers are appointed because they have experience in dealing with similar situations over a vast number of years. Interim managers will once have been high ranking officials within business and will also have a wealth of experience from previous interim roles. Their considerable knowledge will help them make the right decisions in order to steer a company through a challenging time.

Make the right appointment

Appointing the right people, even in the short term, is vital. Newcastle United appointed John Carver in an interim role with the club in a comfortable league position after Alan Pardew opted to join Crystal Palace. A disastrous run of results saw his team crash towards the bottom of the league and join the relegation dogfight. Momenta have a variety of candidates who work across a range of industries to help you find the right candidate to meet your interim management needs. 

To find out more about our interim management services, call us on 020 7374 5610 or e-mail info@momentagroup.com