“When you took over the job from a man who had been there for 10 to 15 years, and he was seen as the linchpin, the father figure, as the man who made it all work. In seven weeks, it’s impossible, utterly impossible, to replace that stuff.

It was Brian Clough speaking about the task of replacing Don Revie, as he sat next to Revie, on Yorkshire Television in September 1974. That was the night he was sacked after just seven weeks on the job.

The 26-minute show is one of the most famous episodes in English football television history and, amidst all the tension and ego, is a discussion of an eternal subject: how to replace a generational manager, when he is the man who club is united around, and when he is the man who “makes everything work”?

The fundamental question – and the one Leeds United faced again this week, 48 years later – is whether you opt for continuity or change when trying to replace the irreplaceable. Are you trying to keep the same ideas with a new manager? Or is it better to hire someone completely different to start all over again?

When Revie left Leeds United to take the job in England, he didn’t want Clough to replace him. He wanted Johnny Giles, who had played for Leeds for 11 years and was a Republic of Ireland player-manager. Giles was the nominee for Revie’s continuity, which he recommended to the board. “He knew our system,” Revie said, “he knew how I worked, he knew how the staff worked. He knew how the players reacted to things.

But instead, Leeds opted for the switch candidate in Clough, and it all ended in tears seven weeks later.

Stephen Skowronek is an American political scientist whose 1993 book The Politics Presidents Make explains how presidents wield political power.