Tottenham’s experiments with a sporting director has led many Premier League fans to question the wisdom of having such a figure at the club.
However, the reality is that what the English media calls the ‘continental’ system (PC for ‘alien’) has been a very effective way for running a football club. Theoretically speaking, the sporting director does a lot behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera, playing the foil for the board as well as the manager and the team.
Practically, it doesn’t always work this way, although interestingly enough the examples people use most often as an example of the system’s failure are actually the fault of the club’s top echelon.
Jol – Comolli at Tottenham? Jol might have needed to go, but that had nothing to do with Comolli and this fact gets swept away in light of recent events. Monchi – Ramos at Sevilla? As Phil Ball suggests, more Del Nido v Ramos than anything to do with Monchi.
IMO the system is not to blame if the owner picks the wrong people for the job (Comolli) or if he doesn’t trust the manager (Ramos), or even if the director tries to convince the board sell the club – those are personal differences and will arise out of any relationship, and it’s the board’s responsibility to appoint the right team and to give them the perfect environment to succeed.
So…I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether sporting directors are good or bad for football clubs – is the system workable only in theory or should clubs make more of an effort to make it a reality?