The life of a modern, top flight football manager can be short lived. With club and supporter expectations bordering on perfection, for a manager to successfully negotiate the gauntlet of public pressure requires skill, knowledge and perhaps above all, luck. Sean Douglas, Football Federation Australia’s Advanced Coaching Manager, explores the criteria most often used to judge coach success, and offers a new context with which to assess performance.


“Half the season gone, half the coaches gone; forget the Tasmanian devil – the A-League coach is Australia’s most endangered species” That was the headline in a major Australian newspaper half way through the 2013-14 season. Available statistics from both the A-League and the English Football League (kindly provided by the League Managers Association) make for grim reading if you are a football coach.

So forget all those proclamations of five- year plans and long- term philosophies. If you’re appointed head coach of an A-League team, your job security is roughly a season and a half.

There have been 46 permanent A-League coaching appointments (excluding interim stints), with an average lifespan in the job of just 44 games.

So forget all those proclamations of five-year plans and long-term philosophies. If you’re appointed head coach of an A-League team, your job security is roughly a season and a half.

The statistics for the Football League in England don’t make much better reading. The overall average tenure of dismissed managers at this stage last season was 1.99 years. This figure is skewed, however, with the departures of three of the longest serving managers…

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Sean Douglas
Sean Douglas
Sean Douglas is the National Coach Education Manager at Football Federation Australia.
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