The price of abject failure is undisclosed

Pic: Actionplus.co.uk

Pic: Actionplus.co.uk

What is the price of abject failure in your job? In mine it would have been a dismissal with what money you accrued since your last wage. If it was a serious failing then you could ultimately be sacked on the spot with no financial recompense. But as we all know the price of failure in football is far more lucrative.

No matter what level of the game a manager is in, they always seem to be rewarded for failure – what other job can you do that gives out rewards when you get the sack? Except for banking, politics and a CEO of a major company.

If you look at the reported managerial highest earners in football, how many of them would sign off with a week’s wage or month’s wage? Especially when you sign contracts from one year up to five years or in the case of Alan Pardew 8 years.

The Special One aka Jose Mourinho is reportedly on £11.2m a year at Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti £4.9m a year at Paris St. Germain and Sir Alex Ferguson is rumoured to be on £6.5m a year basic salary plus a £1m bonus. I have to state that these numbers have not been verified and they were published back in 2012. But either way we can agree that they are sizeable wages none the less.

Now you ignore the bubble of English Football and football on the continent, and turn your attention to the Scottish game. How many managers over the years have been sacked, have left by mutual agreement and who have been put on gardening leave?

Former Celtic manager Tony Mowbray was not sacked after a humiliating demolition at the hands of St.Mirren, he was merely put on gardening leave by the Parkhead side as it was cheaper to pay him a weekly/monthly wage rather than pay out the one lump sum he was set to receive as per his contract. Likewise when in control of Rangers, Sir David Murray boasted of never actually sacking a manager – it was always mutual agreement this or that. How many of those mutual terminations ended in a massive payout as they walked out of Ibrox? Then there is Hearts -Vladimir Romanov and the Tynecastle side have went through more managers than a spotty teenager has gone through Clearasil. When Romanov wants rid of you, it’s a sacking – so what is the financial cost to the financially stricken Hearts side through sacking managers alone?

Now is the failure of the Scottish national side on the park. We have seen Berti Vogts, George Burley and Craig Levein all depart the managerial hotseat – whether it was a mutual agreement or gardening leave. But either way all three were rewarded for their failure.

Levein is now the latest in a long line of failed managers profiting from their failure, rather than profiting from success like Joe Bloggs on the street does. And you wonder why football is hitting hard times?

The statement released by the Scottish FA this afternoon, announced that an agreement had been reached with Levein over his removal from office. It read: “The Scottish FA and Craig Levein confirm that a mutually acceptable settlement has been reached for an undisclosed sum in relation to Craig’s contract with the Scottish FA.

“The Scottish FA wishes Craig well for the future. No further comment will be made on this matter.”

The generic statement of a club or FA, that has decided rather than going through a costly court case they have just worked out a settlement which is usually between what the employer thinks the failed manager should actually be paid and what the failed manager thinks he should be paid.

Now we know why contracts are in place, to safeguard all parties’ positions, but rather than having a clause in the contract which rewards failure, why not just reward success or achieving said goals agreed at the start of the season or contract signing? If clubs rewarded success rather than failure – both players and managers would give 100% week in week out – would they not? Or am I being a tad too naive?

If they are rewarded for success, then clubs will profit from said success. When do clubs profit from failure? So they lose out twice. Maybe it is time the clubs, the managers, the players and the agents take a good long look at themselves and then ask do they want to be a failure or do they want to be a success? Putting money out of the equation for the moment. Then ask the fans their opinion on such matters and you will probably get a resounding barrage of expletives for rewarding failure and a massive thumbs up for rewarding success.

Pic: Brian Doyle

Pic: Brian Doyle

In Levein’s case, he was Scotland manager from 2009 to 2012, taking charge of 24 games and winning only ten. Scotland drew five and lost nine. In the beginning of the latest campaign to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he led Scotland to four defeats which ultimately signalled the end of another qualifying campaign. No glorious failure, no last-minute heartache. Scotland, after two further defeats under new manager Gordon Strachan, became the first team to be eliminated from the World Cup qualifiers – before Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Andorra and even San Marino – who were recently hammered 8-0 by England.

So the question posed to Craig Levein is – why should we reward your failure? What gives you the right to claim a significant amount of money – that for the most part came from ticket sales – in a severance payout when you not only failed to achieve your goals as Scotland manager, as in qualification, but ultimately putting Scotland on the pedestal marked – The Laughing stock of European football?

The mainstream press reported some time ago that Levein was looking or around £700,000 as a payout for getting sacked. That is around £29,000 per Scotland game he managed or should it be mismanaged? Or more appropriately given our nation’s humiliation of late – £77,777 per game he lost, that he wanted reward for. But we do not know what the real severance fee was as it remains undisclosed from the public – an amount that if disclosed would see both parties take pelters for rewarding failure with a lump sum that could probably buy you a plush wee house in the Mearns.

If I was holding the purse strings at Hampden, I would certainly not be dishing out cheques for that amount of money to reward failure. I would be donning a pair of steel toe caps and showing him the door with a swift kick up the jacksie – that in my opinion is the only reward for abject failure. Sadly I doubt many managers or players would agree to that in their contract clauses. Or we could simply put them in stocks and let the fans throw tomatoes at them – the fruit that denotes failure.


About Author


Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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