THE MATTHEW TIPTON COLUMN

The Matthew Tipton Column

The Matthew Tipton Column

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Warrenpoint Town boss and former professional striker Matthew Tipton has signed up to provide a weekly column on his views of a debut season in Irish League management and playing career covering 10 clubs across three countries.

"The sacking of Claudio Ranieri this week has brought about a whole range of opinions, with the vast majority condemning the Leicester City board for the removal of a man who nine months ago led the minnows from East Midlands to the Holy Grail of the English Premier League title.

I'm the opposite of those who plastered social media with their faux outrage at the removal of Ranieri.

As a manager now myself I fully understand that if my team continually lose games of football then my job is going to be on the line and I'm pretty certain that Claudio Ranieri - who is a lot more experienced than I'll ever be - knew that as well.

It might seem that I'm being disrespectful or harsh on a man who dragged Leicester City from Premier League also-rans to champions during his first season but it's never black-and-white.

If you were a Leicester City fan would the sentiment of winning the league last season carry over if they got relegated into the Championship this season?

Relegation would undoubtedly bring with it the loss of the majority of the current squad and it would then become another fight to get back to the Premier League.

I'm sure those scenarios were central to any decision.

During my playing career the nearest I came to a situation like this was when at Macclesfield Town.

Macclesfield had predominantly been a non-league club and in the Football League five or six years when I went there, with the majority of that time spent in and around the bottom half of the basement division.

Season 2003/04 was no different and manager David Moss was sacked in November and replaced by his assistant, John Askey, who had an upturn in results for a brief while but we were still hovering around the bottom two when he was replaced by Brian Horton.

Brian instantly got us winning games and we stayed up with a game to spare.

The following season was completely different - Macclesfield were top of the table for long periods of the season and we ended up finishing fourth, going into the play-offs.

Alas, we were beaten but that was a very successful season and one that we wanted to build on.

Within three months of the following season Brian was sacked.

The club couldn't bare the thought of seeing the team going back to the bottom of the league or, even worse, relegated to the Conference.

As a player, I felt terrible that we hadn't sustained the level of performance to keep a good man in his job.

But I also understood the club's reasoning as there are only two choices when results aren't going well: replace the players or replace the manager.

In Leicester's case, they gave Ranieri the opportunity to replace players in the January transfer window but results still didn't improve.

Now I know many people will think that the players are the problem and I've seen many comment that Ranieri "lost the dressing room".

In any club, a manager has the option to not play those he feels may not be pulling their weight or banishing anyone causing unrest.

Generally in football when the players aren't performing then it's the manager that falls on the sword so, for me, if I feel that my methods aren't being followed it's about trying to find out why and weeding out the problem.

The key is in the title of Manager. You have to manage all manner of situations - from player unrest due to not getting selected, players disagreeing with tactics/training methods or, as many have suggested at Leicester, players getting too big for their boots.

I'm in no way suggesting that I know better than a great manager like Claudio Ranieri but, in my experience, there are factors in play that can be resolved one way or another.

Often during my playing career I came across players who had a gripe with a manager over one thing or another and they then tried to get others to follow them.

A saying I often use is that "misery needs a friend" - the player who isn't playing or unhappy will find another in a similar situation, start a clique and before you know it the unhappy clique spreads amongst the whole squad when a bad result or two occur.

So part of my job is the man-management of players who aren't getting as much gametime as others.

I need these players to be amongst the group and understanding that they are still as big a part of the team at all times.

During my career I played under 21 different managers at club level with two of the 21 (David Jeffrey and Brian Horton) managing me twice.

Looking back, I found I played my best football for those managers who treated me well as a person.

The man-managers and those who made me feel like I was the main man in the team got the most success from me and, hopefully, I'm now showing those traits to my own players."