Management can be a lonely game at the best of times. Even the most successful can feel isolated.
Sir Alex Ferguson recalled in his 2013 autobiography how there were times when “you would give anything not to be alone with your thoughts” and days when, squirrelled away in his office, he would “long for that rap on the door”.
Yet managing crisis clubs is a particularly specialised line of work that requires deep wells of patience and self-restraint, resilience, gallows humour and an almost superhuman level of concentration, given the seemingly endless array of off-field distractions that would consume certain individuals.
Managers of these clubs could have their own therapy groups. It is a good bet, for example, that Blackpool manager Terry McPhillips has a much better idea of what Phil Parkinson is going through at the moment with Bolton Wanderers than, say, Frank Lampard at Derby County. That is not to disparage Lampard in any way, but managers swimming in football’s polluted pools have concerns that extend well beyond just winning football matches, even if that, ultimately, remains their overwhelming priority.
There is a certain irony about a manager – who has still to receive a contractual bonus for the remarkable rescue act he pulled off nine months ago – being asked to do it all over again, but this is the demoralising world that Parkinson inhabits at Bolton.