Barry Smith is the latest managerial casualty in the crazy world of football but did he get a fair deal? The short answer to that is no, when you consider his pre season situation.
It matters little whether you agree with Dundee’s invite to join the premier league two weeks before the start of the season when Smith had already assembled a side capable of mounting a challenge for promotion from Division 1. He was not expecting to be in the top division and had no chance of finding additions to his squad to compete in the premier league. This is not said with any disrespect to the promising players at the Dundee club but they were just not ready for the newly imposed level.
It is said that football would be nothing without the fans but sometimes there are some amongst them who seem to see their role as less about supporting the team they purport to love and more about blaming managers and match officials when things don’t go their way. Thankfully most fans take their club loyalty seriously and no one could have been more loyal to Dundee than Barry Smith, but whilst the moaners live to moan another day poor Barry Smith gets his P45.
The people who fired Smith said that it was a very difficult decision to make but I wonder if they remembered the years of service he gave the club both as player and manager, and the fact that he was rushed into premier league competition with a team which they knew full well had been prepared for a lower division campaign.
Club officials or for that matter fans don’t always get it right and they often can’t see when a manager is right for the club even though he may not win anything.
I go back to my earlier days of reporting in the Jim Leishman era at Dunfermline. Leish was Mr. Dunfermline through and through and whilst he was not generally accepted by some as a great coach he was a great motivator. Consequently the Dunfermline fans at the time were always sure that their team would entertain them win or lose with a big performance, which was all down to Leish. However, one day someone in authority at board level decided that a management change to a person who was regarded as a better coach was just the thing to take the club forward. So Jim was sidelined in favour of Ian Munro. Unfortunately it did not work and the club’s fortunes have never been quite the same since.
So the moral of the story is that there is a lot to be said for rewarding the loyalty of the manager and standing by a man who really cares about the club which is more than can be said for those who prefer to moan about lack of success rather than giving unqualified support to their team.
To the Dundee fans who wanted Smith to go and any others who moan about their team boss I say “be careful what you wish for” because you will more than likely be blessed with someone who has already been classed as a failure by another club.