Lou Macari: Cup rivals Manchester City prove common sense is always the right way forward
STOKE City and Manchester City have more in common than you might think.
It's opportune that they should meet in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday because that gives me chance to comment on their respective owners.
You might think you couldn't get much more of a contrast than a rich Arab owner who has chosen Manchester City from a list of many and only seen them play once in the flesh.
And a not-quite-too rich English owner like Peter Coates who, I'm guessing, would walk across broken glass to watch the club he not only owns, but has supported since childhood.
Visiting the Home & Garden show this Sunday?
We will have some exclusive deals for you so make sure you visit our stand and say hello
Terms: With free entry just visit the show at the Moat House hotel Festival Park between 11am and 4pm and pick up a leaflet
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Sunday, June 23 2013
What these two owners have in common, however, is their faith in their manager and his judgment.
You wouldn't get Tony Pulis or Roberto Mancini signing a player forced on them by their owners for instance.
Nor would you hear either owner putting unfair expectations and targets on their managers.
Manchester's multi-billionaire sheikh may want to turn his club into the biggest and most successful in England, and Europe, but he doesn't expect his immense wealth to buy such achievements overnight.
And you will never have heard Peter Coates say publicly, or in private for that matter, that Stoke City should be finishing top six or above after the money he and his family have pumped in.
Peter is a realistic football man who knows where a chairman's influence starts and ends, leaving the major footballing decisions in the hands of his manager.
Everton are run along similar lines, so it's no coincidence that the relationship there between chairman Bill Kenwright and manager David Moyes has worked so well for so long.
Kenwright loves football as much as the next man, but he knows where his knowledge of the game ends and where his manager's begins.
It's a pretty simple and logical formula, one that usually works, yet you'd be amazed at how many clubs ignore it.
It's usually foreign owners, but not always.
And only this past week we have possibly witnessed the most extraordinary managerial merry-go-round of all down at Southampton.
Not only do they get rid of a manager reaching all realistic expectations after back-to-back promotions to get into the Premier League.
But they get rid of Nigel Adkins and replace him with a complete unknown, Mauricio Pochettino, who was recently sacked by Espanol.
It seems as though Pochettino was assessing players and matches for several weeks before he was officially unveiled, so Adkins was already on death row.
I bet they thought about the timing of the managerial change and thought what better time to do it than after losing at Chelsea?
It serves them right that Southampton came from two down to grab an unlikely 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge to make their decision look even more scandalous.
Now I hear they are talking about forming a committee down at Southampton to decide on new signings.
What are they going to do, take a vote on their next transfer?
Have the people at Southampton learnt nothing from the on-going disaster at Blackburn Rovers?
Apart from Southampton fans, I would think just about every other genuine football supporter would be happy to see the Saints go down in May to teach these people a lesson.
Too many clubs like Southampton are allowing outsiders and non-football people to play a part in major footballing decisions.
If ever it went belly up at Stoke, which it won't, you don't have to look any further than the chairman and manager to apportion blame.
But at the Southamptons of this world, there's that many people sticking their nose into the trough that it's nigh on impossible to know who really is responsible when it all goes wrong.
But go wrong it will.