There are a lot of tough assignments in professional sport.
And, as tough assignments go, head coach is right up there.
In this position, you are ultimately to blame for all your team’s shortcomings and the first head on the block should things not go well.
What’s the old saying, you can’t sack the players but you can sack the coach?
This has proved true for two glamour clubs of their respective competitions this week, with both Manchester United and Sydney FC dumping their “Gaffers”.
David Moyes has been shown the door after less than a year at the helm at arguably the most famous sporting club in the world, with United currently in seventh spot in the Premier League.
Frank Farina has also been marched towards the exit after the Sky Blues were eliminated from the A-League finals by Melbourne Victory on Friday night.
It is the status of these two clubs that has ultimately determined the fate of their managers.
With so much expected of them by spectators and fans, the powers that be have decided to act, or be seen to have acted.
David Moyes will be well compensated for being sacked one year into a six-year contract.
He’ll certainly have no financial issues but the damage to his reputation may be irreparable.
Whatever his talent as a coach, and years of finding success with Everton team’s lacking the resources of his rivals will tell you he is a talented coach, he will now forever be known as the man that followed Sir Alex and failed.
Did he, though?
Relative to the heights they are used to, Manchester United have not had a good year, but has it really been that bad, all things considered?
I suspect that those clubs fighting to avoid relegation would love to be “languishing” in seventh on the Premier League table.
And is a year really long enough to make your mark on a group of highly paid and pampered professional athletes?
Farina has had questions asked of him all season and those questions have finally been answered.
The former Socceroo reportedly had a clause in his contract allowing it to be terminated should the Sky Blues finish lower than fourth this season.
His club finished fifth and came within a whisker of advancing past Victory to the next round of the finals.
Would he have still been sacked had Sydney advanced?
While Farina and Moyes’ circumstances may be different, parallels can be drawn from the position their respective clubs hold within their competitions.
It is more than about football.
These clubs need to protect their worth in the marketplace and make sure their brand is untarnished.
Even the whiff of failure can lead to drastic decisions being made, and quickly.
Success is most often established through stability but, if you are a coach, you better find that stability damn quick.
So Adelaide United fans can rest easy, at least for the time being, with Josep Gombau currently experiencing the stability both Moyes and Farina would have killed for.
With a recent contract extension and a better-than-expected performance from his team this season, Gombau has it all before him.
As long as he keeps getting results.
Expectations have been raised.
Should next season start with a few losses, it may be a different story.
What do you think of Farina and Moyes axing?