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Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Not wanted: director of football
Fulham manager Jean Tigana looks upset
Tigana felt undermined by Baresi's role

Franco Baresi's resignation from Fulham, after a brief and expensive tenure as director of football, was as predictable as it was embarrassing for the club.

From Sir Matt Busby to Kenny Dalglish, the great and the good in football have failed to make this ill-defined position work.

Busby was officially general manager at Manchester United rather than director of football, but like Dalglish at Blackburn and Celtic, his spell upstairs ended in ignominy.

Jean Tigana chews on a toothpick
Tigana wanted control of football matters
The life of the modern manager is a busy one, sure, and the majority need assistance with some aspect of their roles.

But that is what their support staff - scouts, coaches, assistants - are there for.

The most successful set-ups in the Premiership have a powerful manager overseeing football matters with a trusted staff below him and an understanding chairman above.

Arsene Wenger has Pat Rice and Boro Primorac to share the coaching burden, Steve Rowley to supervise scouting, Don Howe and Liam Brady looking after the youngsters and vice-chairman David Dein dealing with transfer negotiations.

In all areas, Wenger has the ultimate say, identifying the players he wants Dein to chase and co-ordinating coaching sessions.

To bring in a Baresi-style figure at Highbury would be considered a waste of time and money.

What would they do that isn't already being done, except undermine Wenger's authority?

Sir Matt Busby with the European Cup in 1968
Sir Matt Busby's legacy haunted his successors
Part of the attraction of Baresi to Mohamed Al Fayed was that he would boost Fulham's profile in world football.

Arsenal, Manchester United or Liverpool would scoff at the idea of appointing a famous old international to help them attract new players.

Fulham, as a club in just their second season in the Premiership - and still largely unknown in Europe - need all the publicity they can get.

There was also an element of Al Fayed's ego at work. See! his gesture seemed to say - the club I own club is favoured by the game's greats!

It was an ill thought-out signing. Within days Tigana was rightly complaining to his chairman that Baresi's role contradicted his own contract, which states he has overall responsibility for all football matters at the club.

Baresi was left working without a job title, while living like a kept man in one of Al Fayed's luxury central London penthouses.

All the while, his presence produced rumours that Tigana's job as manager was under threat.

A worried-looking Kenny Dalglish
Dalglish's spells upstairs at Blackburn and Celtic ended in failure
Wilf McGuiness found it impossible working in Busby's shadow at Old Trafford; Ray Harford at Ewood Park and John Barnes at Parkhead could not work underneath Dalglish.

The fear was always there that they were just keeping the seat warm until the more experienced man decided to return to management.

Harry Redknapp was director of football at Portsmouth for just nine months when he surprised no-one by taking over the managerial reins from Graham Rix.

Even when the man upstairs stays there, there is almost the sense that his role implies the current manager is not quite up to the job.

Does Mickey Adams, a proven and experienced manager, really need relegation specialist Dave Bassett above him at Leicester?

Is there any need for Dick Advocaat to split his time between managing the Dutch national side and keeping an eye on Alex McLeish?

And at Tottenham, director of football David Pleat and manager Glenn Hoddle rarely sing from the same hymn sheet - with Pleat's player recommendations rarely getting the thumbs-up from Hoddle.

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21 Aug 02 | Fulham
21 Aug 02 | Eng Prem
03 Jun 02 | Rangers
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