Morecambe boss: Three years with one team is probably enough for managers

Derek Adams believes the days of long-serving football managers may increasingly be a thing of the past.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 4:45 pm

Adams has only been in charge of Morecambe since November 2019 but the rate of change meant, as of Monday morning, he was already the 42nd longest-serving boss in English football’s top four divisions.

Harrogate Town’s Simon Weaver currently leads the way as he approaches his 12th anniversary at the helm in May.

Morecambe know all about lengthy managerial stays with Adams becoming only their fourth boss in quarter of a century when he succeeded Jim Bentley.

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Derek Adams has been with Morecambe since November 2019

Adams penned a two-and-a-half-year contract when replacing Bentley, taking him through to the end of the 2021/22 season.

Morecambe’s fine season so far has seen him linked with other roles, most notably Bradford City.

Supporters, then, could be forgiven for urging the club to thrust a long-term contract extension in his direction as soon as possible.

When it was put to Adams that he was with a club renowned for giving bosses time to put their stamp on proceedings, he outlined his belief all managers have a limited shelf life with one side.

He said: “I don’t think that’s always correct, some managers can stay too long.

“I think a cycle of a manager is probably three years, after that it’s time to move on to a new club.

“I don’t think any manager should stay for too long. I’ve been a manager for three years three times (Ross County twice and Plymouth Argyle).

“I think if you do stay, the club perhaps doesn’t get to move forward and the manager doesn’t.”

So far this season, 10 League Two sides have seen managers depart their positions, either as a result of sackings, resignations or departures for other clubs.

Three of those have come within the last 10 days with Michael Jolley, Steve Ball and Ross Embleton leaving Barrow AFC, Colchester United and Leyton Orient respectively.

Ball and Embleton left their posts after winless runs of 13 and seven games respectively.

In contrast, Jolley only had seven games in total after taking charge of Barrow in December; the last of those being their defeat against the Shrimps on February 20.

It raised eyebrows, not only because of Jolley’s lack of games but also the club having signed nine players in January and put others, who were out of favour, on the furlough scheme.

Adams said: “If you give someone a two-and-a-half-year contract, you’ve gone through a process, and then you dismiss him after seven games then it can mean one of two things.

“One, you haven’t got the process right or two, what was said when he came in wasn’t correct.

“I think Michael Jolley had gone in there to try and stabilise them, and to try and pick up as many points as he could in a difficult situation.

“The stats will tell you that Barrow are a good side but they just weren’t picking up the wins.”

Adams’ three-year rule means he thinks it’s unlikely football will see anyone emulate Sir Alex Ferguson’s near three-decade spell at Manchester United.

His father, George, worked at Aberdeen during Ferguson’s time in charge at Pittodrie prior to moving to Old Trafford.

As a result, Adams gained first-hand experience of Ferguson’s will to win and outlined just why he was able to stay at United for so long.

“The reason for that was he ran the football club,” Adams said.

“He had great success. he was able to change things – he changed the staff, players, assistant managers.

“He had the full running of the place and, towards the end of his career, he was manager, director of football and coach all in one.”

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