ONE of the biggest decisions in sport is the appointment of a new coach – and the pitfalls of getting it wrong can prove a costly affair.
Not just financially, but on the field of play a change can have as damaging an effect as it can boost fortunes.
The most high-profile case this season is at Manchester United where David Moyes has struggled domestically with virtually the same squad of players that romped home in last year’s title race under predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson.
On the flip side, the return of Jose Mourinho has fired Chelsea back into the title picture after they were forced to take a back seat behind the two-horse Mancunian race in recent seasons.
It just illustrates the importance of getting that right man in charge.
Given time, Moyes may succeed like his predecessor or like Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool who has also benefited from a patient board who were quick to dismiss current England boss Roy Hodgson when they believed he was not the man for the job.
But sometimes it is just about the right place and right time.
Away from football, Andy Murray now has a big decision to make in finding a successor to Ivan Lendl who helped him break his grand slam duck.
But surely the biggest quandary at present befalls the English Cricket Board who have a huge decision to make before the summer internationals get underway next month.
If people think Manchester United’s dramatic fall from grace is bad, just look at the England cricket team.
Less than 12 months after retaining the Ashes on home soil, the Test team have been humiliated 5-0 in the quickfire return series Down Under, lost both the One-Day International and Twenty20 series in Australia and gone on to be eliminated from the Twenty20 World Cup they won four years ago with a humbling by the Netherlands on Monday the most embarrassing result of recent times.
The Ashes debacle was the last series of Andy Flower’s reign and while it was an undistinguished finale, Flower can take credit for helping England reach the top of the Test rankings.
Replacing him will not be easy and while many ex-players have put Ashley Giles forward as a potential successor, it is hard to back up that notion given the results since Flower’s exit.
There has been talk of a return for Lancashire coach Peter Moores and while I would be sad to see him leave Emirates Old Trafford, he is the best candidate for me. His achievements with the Red Rose side have been notable and it is widely accepted he only parted company with England last time due to differences with Kevin Pietersen.
Now with KP now out of the picture, I would not back against Moores going back.
Whoever gets the gig, it is going to be another tough task – just like Moyes has had at the other Old Trafford.