The Last Word: Sorry, Hodgson may have talent but the Axe Factor is compulsive viewing

It's that time of the season again when the League Managers Association come over all Bob Crow and lambast those damn overlords for persecuting their already put-upon members. Respect to Richard Bevan, because his latest missive would have had Karl Marx crying into his season ticket.

Yet, isn't it funny that while Crow, the transport union chief, is roundly criticised as being a trouble-maker, Bevan is depicted as the conscience of English football? One is sticking up for Tube drivers, the other is sticking up for Jaguar drivers.

"There is an incomprehensible belief that the continued sacrificing of the manager, the 'scapegoat', will turn around a club's performance," said the LMA chief executive. "Here, here," screamed the disbelieving audience. Before rushing down the bookies to put a tenner on Roy Hodgson becoming the next evictee on The Axe Factor.

Of course, Bevan is not stupid and knows the blame game won't be ending, or even being curtailed, any time soon as fan power grasps its ever firmer hold. The reaction to the midweek mayhem – not to mention the fall-out that brought its first victim in Hodgson yesterday – has proved as much. How many neutrals found it compelling to sit there and sign off the P45s as the results came in of Chelsea, Liverpool, Aston Villa and West Ham?

The answer is many more than a sick minority. Sorry, but it's part of the entertainment. The Drab Four rocked us that night and their plight will continue to do so.

Claim what you will about the merits of Carlo Ancelotti (numerous), Hodgson (several), Gérard Houllier (lapsed) and Avram Grant (unspecified), but none of that quaking quartet has ever inspired too much sympathy in this quarter. Perhaps that has something to do with their dour characters; or perhaps it's because they would leave full of pocket; or because in football management disloyalty is hardly a one-way street.

Didn't Hodgson turn his back on Fulham not so very long ago? A good football man left a good football club, but, apart from the faithful down by the Thames, few managed so much as a shrug. It's ever been thus in the have-your-cake-and-eat-it hotseat.

Yet why is it? Why is it any less destructive for, say, Owen Coyle to leave Burnley in mid-season, and thus condemn them to relegation, than it is for Newcastle to sack Chris Hughton when they are nowhere near relegation? Burnley hadn't let down Coyle, just as Hughton hadn't let down Newcastle. Is a manager's ambition deemed more important than an owner's ambition, or is it merely easier to understand? Furthermore, where are the "oh, woe is the game" howls when a manager unashamedly walks into a position vacated by a fellow LMA member so reluctantly?

These are not questions for Bevan to answer. The LMA must back their members when they are supposedly treated badly and proceed to uphold the illusion that all the other managers are united in their disgust of the "short-termism". Disgusted maybe, but also comforted that job opportunities will arise very shortly. Who needs the "Latest Vacancies" board at the Jobcentre when you have the "Breaking News" panel on Sky Sports News?

Is there any way for the LMA to bridge this divide between the self-obsessed individual and the caring collective? It would be nice to cite the recent example ofSir Alex Ferguson calling his loan players from Preston because he didn't agree with a knee-jerk sacking as one method by which the strong could support the weak. For if sympathy lies anywhere, it isn't with Hodgson but with young managers struggling to obtain any sort of workable foothold. Alas, Darren Ferguson is Sir Alex's son. Self-interest governs the picket line yet again.

However, thinking about it, this genuinely could be a process by which the supposedly powerful could register their disapproval and make the trigger-happy hesitate. Premier League loanees are becoming more influential in the Championship by the season. Adel Taarabt started out on loan at table-topping QPR and Cardiff wouldn't be second without Manchester City's Craig Bellamy. All it would take would be for the LMA to draw up a blacklist.

But who would decide which clubs are boycotted, and who would obey it? One man's blatant injustice is another man's overdue replacement. Maybe it could be drawn up purely on "time granted in the position", but that would be ridiculously simplistic. But so much is in the oft-cited case for keeping faith in the manager. Here is an argument so well-worn it even has its own clichés. Hodgson's dismissal gives them yet another airing.

Certainly, far too much is made of Manchester United allowing Sir Alex such a prolonged spell to turn it around and so benefiting in the long term. In his first season, he hauled United from 21st to 11th. In his second campaign they finished second. Even Manchester City circa 2010 wouldn't have sacked him in his very early days. And in the third season, which saw United challenge and then dip? Well, by then he was settled in and had outlined his vision. The Big Man can be quite persuasive, you know.

Indeed, it makes just as much sense to look at an another tale of success. Juande Ramos lasted less than a year at Spurs until they replaced him with Harry Redknapp. Then Harry was considered nothing greater than a desperate stop-gap. Evidence, surely, that "short-termism" can have such a lasting future.

Who is to say the same won't apply at Liverpool? Not the LMA. They can throw around statistics and try to present football management as any other profession. It isn't, never has been, never will be. It's about emotion, results, instinct; about dreamingwhat could be and updating these dreams on a weekly basis.

No doubt Bevan is correct; no doubt lower League clubs can't afford to keep firing managers. But that won't stop them. Just as they won't stop paying managers wages that they cannot afford. You see, it's all jumbled together as part of English football's glorious mess. The cause, the symptoms, the cure and the bleating. Remember the LMA are only an "association". "Guilty by..." wouldn't be the most ill-fitting prefix.

Agree or disagree? Email j.corrigan@independent.co.uk

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence