The Mark Hughes’ Career Path Turns Into A Cul-de-Sac

The end of the domestic football season can be a tough time for anybody that works in the game. As contracts expire, many players are left with their livelihoods hanging by a thread and, for the adulation afforded to Paul Scholes upon his recent retirement, there will be dozens upon dozens that slide from view, seldom thought of by anyone apart from their nearest and dearest. For managers, meanwhile, the russian roulette nature of their employment is placed sharply into focus by the glinting of the guillotine blade that hangs in the air. What were expectations of their clubs owners? Did they meet them? It often feels as if there is no other profession in which the livelihoods of many are dependent on the whims and indulgences of others. In an outstanding recent review of Simon Kuper’s new book, “The Football Men”, the website Twisted Blood hit upon a fundamental truth at the heart of professional sport – the schism between the professional sportsman and the supporter. The one thing that can almost be guaranteed in modern sport is that loyalty is a one-way street, and a culture of loyalty has been built into a sophisticated framework that envelops the whole of modern football. Loyalty, we are told, is everything if you are a supporter. Yet those that benefit fiscally from the game – the players, the managers, in...

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