Confusing cause and effect

Guardian Spurs Article

I was sitting down relaxing and reading the Guardian website this weekend when I came across the following article: As I started reading my irritation levels rose. To quote:

Stability is why Sir Alex Ferguson was able to choose his own retirement date at Manchester United after two decades of unprecedented achievement. Stability is why Arsenal are Champions League regulars and were thus in a position to attract a player of Mesut Özil’s calibre to transform their title prospects. The case has been proven, the benefits are clear. Managers need time.

One of the more annoying cliches pundits drag out every time one of their mates gets sacked is that the key to success is to give a manager time. While there is an element of truth in this – I admit that changing manager every season is not a great plan – some coaches could be given from now until the next millennium and they still wouldn’t turn their team’s fortunes around.

The argument goes: Wenger and Ferguson have been the two longest serving managers of recent Premier League history, they have also been the most successful, ergo stability breeds success. This is one of the more ridiculous uses of backwards logic I have come across, a complete misunderstanding of cause and effect.

These two managers’ success wasn’t down to the fact that they were given time. They were given time because they were successful.


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