Neil Warnock was dismissed as manager of Premiership club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) yesterday [Sunday 8th of January] . The circumstances are all too familiar. Warnock is a controversial and outspoken character. He has a reputation of demanding the best from players often working with a limited budget. He is only eight years younger than Sir Alex Ferguson. Last year QPR gained promotion with him as their manager.
Events contributing to a sacking
Some of these events seem familiar for cases in which managers are removed from their positions in the premier league.
 A takeover after which the new owners take the opportunity to put ‘their’ man in charge
 The club does not perform to expectations in the ‘honeymoon period’ for the new owners
 A case of success elsewhere after a change of manager is noted by the new owners and the fans.
The Martin O Neill effect
All three factors are evident in the QPR case. Martin O Neill has hit the headlines after a great start at struggling Sunderland recently.
The Great Man Theory
The idea of a leader as hero/rescuer was popular a century ago, but has become increasingly challenged. In business, as in sport, the evidence for a reversal of fortune after introducing a dynamic new manager is contestable. There are other factors including the resources that are made available to the new leader to ‘make a difference’.
Yes, a transformation in fortune will require effective leadership. The owners may well have found Warnock not the kind of manager they would have preferred for a fresh start. However, significant change will also require effective governance and expectations that are not too fanciful. And a Martin O Neill or a Kenny Dalglish is hard to find, and harder to attract without special personal reasons for accepting the challenge.