Alan Biggs: If Slavisa Jokanovic is not in control of transfer trading how can he answer questions on it?

Whether it’s too long overdue … whether it’s about sticking to the “plan” or “promises” to quote the last two managers - Sheffield United have probably done just enough to appease Slavisa Jokanovic. For now.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 11:24 am
Slavisa Jokanovic is in the market for further new faces.

Fair play on a flurry of pre-deadline signings, with some quality additions.But I still think recent disturbing sound bites from Bramall Lane have been a microcosm of a wider issue in football.It might not be politically correct to say so but most of the items that arrive in the Biggs household are purchased by the other half of the partnership.While I might be consulted and asked preferences, I’m not in charge of it and not driving it.So let’s just suppose I was quizzed once or twice, even three times a week, about what “we” were buying. And in public. Ah, uhm.Ladies and gentleman, the lot of the modern football manager.

Whereas domestically I could refer you to my better half, they are required to front it all out when it comes to signing and offloading players.This happens to be a Sheffield United column. In recent years it could have been a Sheffield Wednesday one.And right now it could apply to any number of clubs in the higher echelons.I just don’t think Jokanovic - or any other manager - should have to continually face up to questions on transfer trading unless they are the ones calling the shots.Isn’t it time for those who do to face the music? Not that they are readily identifiable at some clubs, although at Bramall Lane it’s reasonable to suppose that owner Prince Abdullah, CEO Steve Bettis and “head of football” Jan van Winckel are the major movers and shakers.A bigger certainty is that they are not available for questioning, not publicly accountable.

Which has become the norm - everywhere.

Whereas the manager is not only permanently in the spotlight but the one likeliest to lose his job based on his team’s results, dependent to a high degree on a buying and selling process going on above his head.I’ve no doubt Jokanovic had final approval on the eventual deadline business - but why, in obvious anger and frustration, did he end up pointing the finger above his head?Now I’m not necessarily decrying the modern way for coaching and old school management to be separated.While I’ll always believe manager-led is best, barring the actual nuts and bolts of contract agreements, it is possible to have backroom teams working in harmony.Certainly the days of a “manager” being exactly that appear to be over, not least because of expanding demands.

But the business of quizzing the “boss” on these matters is becoming increasingly futile and irritating. If they are not in control, how can they answer?Even if they were commanding the situation, it would hardly be in their interest to reveal too much of a clandestine operation increasingly manipulated by agents.Sheffield United’s new way, central to the change of manager, is fine. If it works. The board wanted more control of it - they have to prove capable.I’m just surprised that, as a collective, managers haven’t drawn the line and declared all such questions off limits.

Or maybe they fear a backlash from fans because no-one else will answer them?Again, an issue for football as a whole to consider. It’s not just one club I reference, there has to be a better way.