1. ITV Report

Greg Abbott: A great success then the latest failure

Sacked Carlisle manager Greg Abbott. Photo: PA wire

It's a strange and harsh profession in which even those who are successful end up branded as failures.

But that's football management and Greg Abbott found himself on the wrong end of it when he left Carlisle United.

He did nearly five years in the post and, before he left, he was the 3rd longest serving manager in England. He survived that long because he did a very good, very canny job in extremely difficult circumstances.

He survived that long because he stabilised an unfashionable, financially-careful team in League One and even threw in the odd trip to Wembley.

Former Carlisle manager Greg Abbott with the Johnstones' Paint Trophy in 2011. Credit: PA wire

He survived because he did all that on a shoestring budget and persuaded some very good players to come and play their football in Cumbria.

He survived because he had more hits than misses and that's success in any language. But there's always another game, another season and another challenge in football management. It's the impossible job. The job that never stands still.

Eventually the pressure, the constant pressure and the huge emotional responsibility of the job starts to chip away at you and chip away at your success.

Eventually you find you have more misses than hits. Then everyone involved with the club starts to lose faith in you, little by little. You'll learn to fight fires and you may successfully extinguish a few. But sooner or later the job will get you.

Greg Abbott in the dug out at the FA Cup first round against Alfreton Town in 2011. Credit: PA wire

That's what happened to Greg Abbott. He wasn't perfect. He wasn't Mourinho, or Guardiola, or Ferguson, or Wenger. He didn't call everything right and ultimately he couldn't correct certain parts of his team and his tactics that'd been going wrong for 12 months. But he did his best up to the point where his best was no longer considered good enough.

And that's where it's so harsh, because it's hard to argue Carlisle haven't made the right decision here.

The results, the league table and the falling attendances all screamed of a club that needed to move onto the next chapter. And you can't argue they've rushed into it - a more hard-nosed regime would've moved Abbott on in the summer, rather than trust him with a new contract. So we're left with the right decision, which still feels wrong when you consider how hard Greg Abbott tried.

Greg Abbott shouts instructions from the sideline as Carlisle took on Notts County in March. Credit: PA wire

But time will heal all wounds. A little perspective and context will allow Carlisle fans to see and appreciate the fine job Greg Abbott did for their club. To be fair, the vast majority appreciate that now. A little time out will see Greg Abbott ready to move onto his next challenge.

But tomorrow is another day. You move on, get the next man in and hope he does better, or at least as well, as the last man.

You hope your new manager will be a great success, before he becomes your latest failure.