Running a football team, be it in the top flight or second division, is no easy task. The ups and downs; highs and lows; and ins and outs that come with such an undertaking can present a hefty challenge or send would-be managers fleeing the scene.
Thankfully, many former footballers are keen to stay in the beautiful game - and explore jobs that effectively allow them to impart their talent, expertise and knowledge to the next generation.
Appiah and others are faced with many learnings in their attempt to become the next Manuel Pellegrini or some other renowned manager.
There is more to it than just big names and high prices
While a lot of the fans’ focus will be on which players are bought for what amounts of money ahead of the new season and during the transfer window, managers will know full well that the success of a team needs to go far beyond just the names on the backs of shirts. In a sport of plenty of individualism, there has to be a collective gel that goes beyond what the naked eye can see. When there is unity and a drive and determination to look and play beyond the needs of one’s self, that selflessness and team effort can ensure several trophies. The manager’s bid to ensure this sort of culture can be a difficult but challenging one.
The trinity of leadership
West Ham will be the first to attest to the need for the physiotherapist, managers and players to be operating hand in hand all the time. They all have to be on the same page, all the time, so as to prevent injury and other factors that could see a campaign derailed by a lack of communication. A player, for instance, might want to push through and play through an injury, whereas the physio has advised against this. The manager then effectively becomes the swing vote and makes the final decision, based on the best interest of all concerned.
The relationships with the fans
The supporters – the people that go through the turnstiles and put bums on seats and money in the club’s pocket – really have to be looked after. West Ham’s transition from Upton Park to London Stadium has been lined with difficulties, but ultimately they are triumphing because the manager knows how important the fans are to the club. This, too, is something future managers need to be mindful of. Acting swiftly when things don’t’ go right and exercising caution when needed are often top of the agenda of a good manager, not just with is players but also in terms of public relations. Guys like Appiah and Pellegrini certainly have this kind of character and gumption within them, so they’re good at what they do.