Changing your manager can be a complicated process.
And the clubs that don't treat it as such usually end up paying the price.
It's not as simple as a chairman shrieking "Off with his head!" like the Queen of Hearts. There has to be a plan. A plan to fix whatever has gone wrong to lead a football club to the point of dusting off the axe.
The manager is always the fall guy. It's naive to suggest he can be solely responsible for poor results. The players must take their share of the blame, yet it's always the manager who pays with his job.
Defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford on Tuesday cranked up the pressure on Manchester United manager David Moyes. His team were poor on the night—they have been for a majority of the season—but it is his job that is now under threat.
But it's not as simple as getting rid of him and starting again. The United board, the Glazer Family and Sir Alex Ferguson have already taken criticism for the way Moyes was chosen.
There didn't seem to be any kind of process. Rather than being the best candidate for the job, the former Everton manager was anointed "The Chosen One."
But if Moyes can't turn things around sooner rather than later, United will again be looking for a new manager.
And unlike last year, when Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti were available at different times, their options look limited.
If Moyes was to lose his job before the end of the season, it is conceivable Ryan Giggs could take over until the summer. However, it is unlikely he would be considered a long-term appointment.
Two other options are Louis van Gaal or Jurgen Klopp, but there are issues with both.
Van Gaal—experienced in some of the toughest jobs in the world at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich—will take charge of Holland at this summer's World Cup. And he won't be in a position to take over at Old Trafford until after they are knocked out. United got off to a slow start in the transfer market last summer and can't afford to do the same this time.
Klopp would be a popular choice among United fans. He's charismatic with a reputation of playing attacking, attractive football. And, crucially, he's been successful with it. But it's debatable whether he could be tempted away from Borussia Dortmund, even with Bayern Munich buying all his players and dominating the Bundesliga.
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone would also likely be part of the discussions if and when they are required.
The United board have so far refused to blink, despite a string of disastrous results under the manager they chose in the summer.
But it would be irresponsible if they were not now cautiously looking at alternatives if the worst continues to happen.
What happens if they sack Moyes at the end of the season only to find Van Gaal, Klopp or Simeone aren't interested? United would be back to square one.
A viable plan of action is crucial in circumstances like these. Deciding the time is right to make a change is only the first step.
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