Friday, December 11, 2009

The Damned Job

The Damned United (2009, UK/USA, Tom Hooper): 9/10

Just a few of the things a modern soccer manager has to satisfy:

And even if all the above are met, there is still no guarantee that a soccer manager would be able to keep his job.

Case 1: A manager wins all the trophies by playing 1-0 negative football and the owners/board of directors are happy with all the trophies.

However, if some sections of the fans and media are not happy with the negative football and they have a huge say in the club’s operations, then the manager would not be in the job too long.

Case 2: A manager ensures his team plays the most beautiful football but fails to win many trophies.

Some fans would be happy but others would want the manager to be fired. However, if the board of directors are satisfied, then the manager would survive.

Case 3: A manager wins trophies by playing beautiful football but does not get along with the board of directors.

In this case, the manager would not last long in the job. The example of Real Madrid comes to mind because at Madrid, the board of directors are never shy to fire a manager days after he had landed a major trophy. Heck, at Madrid, they are known to fire managers even when the team is top of the league and in an excellent position to win the title (example, the 1991-92 season).

Until this year, if one had to understand a soccer manager’s tough position, then one could only piece things together by reading multiple books, newspaper/magazine articles and watching the odd tv interview. But with the release of The Damned United fans of the game finally have a film that gives a glimpse into the multiple pulls that a soccer manager has to withstand in his day to day job. Even if one is not a soccer fan, then there is still plenty to enjoy in this accessible and polished film that mixes the real life case of Brian Clough’s turbulent 44 days of employment at Leeds United with a sprinkling of fiction.

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