Managers are the fall guys for owners' lack of strategy, Graham Potter could be next

Does Graham Potter lack the fear factor of a top manager? (1:44)

Mark Ogden and Steve Nicol wonder if Chelsea's star players respect Graham Potter after their loss vs. Southampton. (1:44)

Graham Potter looks to be ill-equipped and underqualified for the Chelsea manager's job. The same could have been said of Nathan Jones during his three-month, 14-game tenure as Southampton boss; and ask any Leeds United supporter about the credentials of American coach Jesse Marsch during his yearlong spell in charge at Elland Road and the view would probably have been the same.

Jones paid the price for his failure at Southampton by getting fired and became one of the shortest-serving managers in Premier League history. Marsch, meanwhile, lost his job at Leeds earlier this month after 16 defeats in 37 games.

If Potter suffers the same fate in the days and weeks ahead at Stamford Bridge, it will be no surprise. Chelsea have lost nine of their past 16 games in all competitions and have scored just once in their past five fixtures, so he is fortunate that the notoriously demanding Roman Abramovich, who sacked 10 managers in 19 years, is no longer the Chelsea owner.

Potter's boss, and the person most likely to decide his fate, is Chelsea's new co-owner and chairman Todd Boehly. This time last year, Boehly was focusing his energies on his role as co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Russia's invasion of Ukraine last February sparked a chain of events at Stamford Bridge that resulted in Abramovich being forced to sell the club. By May, Boehly had completed his Chelsea takeover.

Since then, Boehly has overseen the spending of more than £600 million on new players and the sacking of Champions League-winning coach Thomas Tuchel, followed by the hiring of Potter from Brighton & Hove Albion.

Legitimate questions of Boehly's football knowledge and ability to make such pivotal decisions as the hiring and firing of managers are right to be asked, but the American businessman is not the only senior figure at a football club who may lack the credentials and insight to do that crucial job. Ed Woodward, a banker-turned-commercial director, spent nine years doing the same job at Manchester United before he stepped down last January. Those nine years tell a tale of poor managerial appointments and wasted money in the transfer market, and it is becoming an increasing problem in football.

Failing managers feel the heat and, ultimately, lose their jobs for poor results on the pitch. Meanwhile, the people who make the appointments in the first place not only emerge unscathed but survive to choose the next manager, and the next. Just look at Everton, a club that have turned over more managers than most in recent years and only ended up with Sean Dyche as Frank Lampard's replacement last month after an ill-conceived move for Marcelo Bielsa fell through.

Sources have told ESPN that Dyche was not on Everton's initial shortlist, but rejections by others led to his appointment. Ironically, it might just turn out to be Everton's best decision for a long time, but there was little or no strategy behind it.

Should Jesse Marsch take the Southampton or USMNT job?

Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez discuss Jesse Marsch's future, and whether he should stay in the Premier League at Southampton or go to the USMNT.

When Marsch succeeded Bielsa at Leeds 12 months ago, he took charge of a team in relegation trouble and left them in the same predicament 49 weeks later. Only Southampton director of football Rasmus Ankersen and CEO Martin Semmens will know why Marsch, the former FC Salzburg and RB Leipzig manager, was impressive enough to be the club's first choice to succeed former Luton boss Jones as manager at St Mary's before a deal to hire him collapsed.

Let's not forget that Marsch was taken on by Leeds in February last year despite lasting only six months at Leipzig, where he won eight and lost nine of 21 games in charge. If he was lucky to land the Leeds job, it would have been an even greater stroke of fortune to secure another Premier League job so soon after losing his first one.

Marsch was a strange appointment by Leeds based on his failure at Leipzig, but sporting director Victor Orta hired him anyway. Two weeks after sacking him, Leeds are still without a replacement because they failed to make coherent plan to find a successor.

Carlos Corberan (West Bromwich Albion), Andoni Iraola (Rayo Vallecano), Arne Slot (Feyenoord) and Alfred Schreuder (recently fired by Ajax) have all either rejected Leeds or opted to stay at their current clubs since being linked with a move to Elland Road, so caretaker-manager Michael Skubala remains in charge despite earning one point from three games and seeing the club drop into the relegation zone.

Orta knew the end was approaching for Marsch, but the damage caused by the uncertainty over the new manager, and failure to find one, could be enough to consign Leeds to relegation.

With Chelsea and Potter, the stakes are not quite as high, but unless the team wins the Champions League this season it's unlikely the club will be in European competition next season, and that will have major financial implications at Stamford Bridge. Premier League clubs competing in the Champions League can expect to bank at least £60m from prize money just for playing in the group stage. Liverpool earned £102m by reaching the final last season, so missing out on such a cash injection would impact Chelsea's ability to comply with financial fair play regulations following their huge spending during the past two transfer windows.

Potter will almost certainly be blamed for that failure if it happens and the price he pays will be his job, but arguably the biggest mistake of all at Chelsea this season was the decision to fire Tuchel -- a proven winner with an outstanding record at the highest level. Sacking Tuchel and replacing him with a relative novice in Potter were two hugely naive decisions by Boehly, but there will be no consequences for the Chelsea co-owner, just the chance to play fantasy football again by hiring another manager.

And that's how it works. The managers lose their jobs and the people who mistakenly hire them get to do it all over again.