It has often been an unwritten, and frequently recited, rule in football that joint managers never have, and never will, work.
There have been examples of joint managers, over the past decade or so, that either didn’t last or didn’t work.
Probably the most famous case of all being the joint stewardship of Liverpool, by Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier. This particular partnership lasted only four months of the 1998/99.
Critics of a joint management regime frequently point towards this example as an argument against having joint managers and, to be fair, they have a point. That season Liverpool failed to qualify for a European competition.
To further back up this point of view there hasn’t been a semi-successful spell for a club under joint management since Alan Curbishley and Steve Gritt, laying the foundations for Alan Curbishley’s successful sole reign, at Charlton in the early 90’s.
Attempts at join management since then have either been low-key, short affairs or disastrous… until now.
Step forward Darren Sheridan and Dave Bayliss of Blue Square North team Barrow A.F.C.
Former Barnsley midfielder Sheridan and, ex-Rochdale defender, Bayliss took joint charge of Barrow, along with club captain Paul Jones, as caretakers in November 2007.
Their first three games in charge saw the team beat, local rivals, Workington in the Setanta Shield, hammer high flying A.F.C. Telford 4-0 and narrowly miss out on producing one of the biggest FA Cup shocks of the season, narrowly losing 3-2 to a goal in the last minute of extra time, at Bournemouth, in a 1st round replay.
In December Sheridan and Bayliss were appointed on a permanent basis, on a verbal agreement. Since then the Bluebirds have moved from a relegation battle to, recently, having an outside chance of making the play-offs, playing attractive, attacking football in the process. Something that was regularly lacking under the previous, sole, manager Phil Wilson. In fact Barrow recently went on a run of scoring four goals in four consecutive home games.
The duo are now about to be offered a formal contract, three months ahead of schedule.
In an interview with the North-West Evening Mail, Barrow director Tony Keen said: “We originally agreed to review the situation at the end of the season but the directors are more than happy the way things have been going under Darren and Dave.
"It has been play-offs and promotion form and in a way they have written their own future.”
The success of these two joint-managers may be a one off, but maybe, just maybe, it is an example that, if done correctly, a joint management team can work.