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Who’d be a manager? Livingston boss laments ‘very harsh’ impact of social media

By December 9, 2021No Comments

Livingston boss David Martindale believes the pressure of being a modern-day football manager is becoming intolerable as he raised concerns about the impact of social media on those who choose to do the job.

After Jack Ross was sacked by Hibernian following a 1-0 defeat against the Lions on Wednesday in which supporters turned on him, Martindale expressed sympathy for his opposite number as he gave a candid insight into the well-being issues facing managers in general.

The Livi boss, who believes the implementation of some kind of manager-changing window needs to be explored, said: “Who would actually want to be a manager? What’s the life cycle of a manager? Maybe 18 months, if that, if you average it out.

“It’s a very harsh and cynical environment and I don’t think people understand how stressful it can be. It has a massive impact on my wife and my daughter because they read social media.

“Scotland is a very passionate and emotional nation when it comes to football but has social media heightened it? I think it has.

“In the past, if you didn’t have a great game and got booed at the end, that’s probably all you would hear until the next game. But now it’s constant throughout the week, with media and social media constantly on you 24/7.

“You didn’t know what the rest of the world was talking about before because you’d be confined to your club and your own life, but now it’s constant.

“Unless you’re earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, where that stick can wash off you a little bit, it’s not a great job to be in and it’s not a great environment to be in at times with the social media backlash it involves.

“At times, you feel isolated as a manager when you go through a tough run of form. It’s testament to my board that they’ve stuck by me when I’ve gone through a tough run over the last seven years. There’s a lot to be said for continuity in football.

“At the bigger clubs, I think now with the social media, the interest and how much hype there is on social media, the dynamics in football are changing.

“It used to be that guys would go down the pub and discuss whether the manager or the players had a good game, but now it’s all over social media, then the next person jumps on it and the next person jumps on it, and before you know it, there’s 1,000 tweets and then, come the next game, everybody turns up waiting on a negative thing to happen so they can jump on the back of the last negative.

“I don’t think it’s a great job, job security-wise and mentally.”

Reflecting on Ross’s sacking after a run of seven defeats in nine league matches ahead of next weekend’s Premier Sports Cup final against Celtic, Martindale said: “I’ve got a lot of sympathy for Jack because I think he’s done a fantastic job at Hibs.

“He’s taken them to Hampden, he was taking them to Hampden again, he’s taken them to third place in the league.

“We’ve been in opposite dugouts for probably six of the last eight seasons if I go back to his time at Dumbarton, Alloa and St Mirren. I’ve always found him very approachable and very knowledgeable and very humble in victory or defeat.

“He seemed himself after the game on Wednesday. I did not think Jack would be out of a job this morning.

“Hibs are a huge club. Are they underperforming in the league? Yes, slightly. But was there an opportunity for Jack to turn it round? I think there was. He could have won the cup final and become a legend and that cup form could have kicked into the league form.

“It’s so cutthroat now. As a manager, all you ask is to be given a bit of time because it can’t always be plain sailing.”