Before I start, let me make it clear, I have little or no sympathy for managers who are sacked. Most people sacked from their chosen profession, do so without a handsome pay-off and find the blot on their CV makes future employment more difficult.
Manager’s who are sacked for under performance, almost never walk away without compensation and in most cases, can regain employment relatively quickly. Even if they can’t get back into management immediately, media opportunities normally mean they’re not on the breadline for too long.
That said, whether it be managers sacked, leaving by “mutual consent” or under pressure, more and more decisions are made that quite frankly have you scratching your head.
Steve Bruce was the first casualty of this premiership season and whilst he had originally started well at Sunderland, this season was below the standards required – particularly given the money spent – and the Sunderland board moved swiftly to not only relieve Bruce of his duties but to replace him with a top quality manager in Martin O’Neill.
Results since would seem to vindicate their actions. Can the same be said of Steve Morgan and his board at Wolves?
Without doubt, the team was struggling. The Chairman’s entrance into the home dressing room and a 5-1 defeat at home to one of your local rivals, leaves you in a precarious position to say the least. But were Wolves really going to be relegated under McCarthy?
We’ll never know now but my own opinion is that McCarthy would have steered them through this difficult time and whilst not flourishing in the league, certainly ensuring their place for next season.
The board clearly had a different opinion and acted swiftly to remove McCarthy from the post. Given their position in the league, you would think the sacking would be followed by a quick appointment. Without wishing to suggest any football club may speak with a potential new manager before disposing of their old manager (stop laughing), you would believe they’d have a plan of action that would allow them to move forward.
Seems not at Wolves. Brian McDermott has said no thanks, I’ll stay in the Championship. Walter Smith feels that signing on is a better option. And Alan Curbishley is so against the thought, he’s said no not once but twice.
Something’s putting people off. And that something would indicate that not all that is wrong with Wolves is as a result of managerial inadequacies and the club may have more deep rooted problems.
But fear not folks, Steve Morgan has a cunning plan. If the bloke who has been in charge all season hasn’t got the capabilities to keep the team in the division, we’ll turn to the bloke who has been coaching the same group of players over the same period of time and has no managerial record to speak of.
No disrespect is intended here towards Terry Connor, who may very well do an admirable job but if you don’t believe that your manager is the man to save you, surely turning your attentions his number 2 isn’t the answer?
Whichever way you look at it, it’s an appointment of desperation and necessity.
I sincerely hope that Wolves stay up. They’re a proper football club, with real tradition and have every right to play in the top division. I’ve a feeling they’ll still do it but if they do, it will be in spite of Steve Morgan’s actions rather than because of it.
And that leads me onto the other big managerial story at the moment, Andre Villas-Boas.
If ever the term dead man walking was appropriate, it’s now. Given the nature of the Chelsea dressing room and the relative inexperience of AVB, it was always felt like an appointment doomed for failure. An expensive appointment doomed for failure at that.
Unfortunately, it’s turning out that way.
AVB clearly has talent but this job was too big, too soon and he is beginning to look like a figure of pity that should be put out of his misery. Not all problems at Chelsea are of his making. He has inherited an ageing squad that requires an overhaul and is left persisting with the spent force that is Fernando Torres but whatever the reasons, it just isn’t working.
For all the good he has done for Chelsea, Roman Abramovich may need to look a little closer to home when it comes to why Chelsea isn’t the European force he wants it to be but self-reflection doesn’t appear a strong point.
The indications are that he won’t make the summer and if the axe does fall early, Rafael Benitez is the early contender to take the role. Whilst he’s got a clear pedigree, his ability to fall out with employers makes it difficult to believe it would be a marriage made in heaven.
If however, AVB does make it to the summer, there may very well be another Portuguese manager looking for employment at that time.
Jose Mourinho left Chelsea under a cloud but it would certainly appeal to his ego to not only bring trophies back to a club he had a clear affection for but to also prove Roman Abramovich wrong for getting rid of him in the first place.
He’s made no attempt to disguise his wishes to come back to this country but the jobs suitable are few and far between.
Tottenham is a fair shout if Harry takes the England job but after that, you’re struggling.
He’d love United but the timing is wrong. Ferguson is showing no signs of slowing down and you would think that job’s unavailable for at least the next 2-3 years.
Sources also say that Mourinho will never be appointed manager whilst Bobby Charlton has a say in the matter and that again could scupper any move in the near future.
His desire for United will probably also mean that he wouldn’t be interested in the City job if it was to become available, so where’s left?
Whether Abramovich has the capacity to admit his initial error is unknown but it has been the year of the returning prodigal son, so perhaps there is one more to come?
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