Is lack of money a good excuse for a manager?
Managers under pressure usually have a big book of excuses to hand. Martin Jol at Fulham is being criticised by fans after the club's poor start to the season. He has pointed out that the club is 20th in the spending league and that is bound to constrain their performance.
However, fans have a broader critique of Jol. They consider that his methods are dated and that he is too reliant on ageing players.
It is now open season on managers. The mercurial and eccentric Paolo di Canio has gone at Sunderland. He has his defenders who believe that was just penalised for showing passion, but a manager is meant to be more than a passionate fan.
Nigel Clough, the longest-serving manager in the Championship has gone after the defeat to Nottingham Forest. But did Clough have enough resources to achieve more? Forest next play Charlton, where Chris Powell is under pressure after three defeats in a row. He remains popular with most fans who point to a lack of resources for strengthening the squad in the summer transfer window.
When I was talking to football author Chris Anderson last week he noted how incredibly short-term football is. Fans often have a 'goldfish' mentality, focusing on the last match. Building a team and getting them to play well together often takes more time than managers have.
'League tables' for schools, universities and hospitals have become more common, but they are beset by data limitations and issues of interpretation. In football it is said that 'the table doesn't lie'. Over a season that may be so, but does it apply in September?