Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The sack race (I can't believe I used that expression)

With three of the four sides in action tonight featuring teams who have undergone a change at the helm during the season I thought it’d be a good time to weigh up whether or not shipping out the dead wood (or in Chelsea’s case their most successful manager of all time) and bringing in fresh ideas (or in Bolton’s case, ideas that got West Brom relegated a few seasons back) worked or failed spectacularly.

Of all the changes that have taken place, only one can really stand out as a success thus far. Yes, there’s an argument for Avram Grant here, but considering his resources and record against the big teams, it’s not much of an argument. Juande Ramos too has a fine squad to deal with but his achievements have been greater than Grant’s in my opinion.

He has taken a team who previously excelled at choking (Jenas and Keane I’m looking at you) and brought them silverware, while shedding a massive inferiority complex at the same time with the carling cup win and the victory in the semi finals against Arsenal.

Elsewhere, there are several disaster stories to speak of. Gary Megson promised much in his early days after the departure of Little Sam but Bolton appear to be sliding towards relegation and his decision to rest so many players for the second leg of the UEFA Cup last 16 match was a disgrace to football never mind Bolton. Few will shed tears if his team goes down.

There will be plenty of tears should Newcastle go down, but not from myself or any other sane person but certainly with Kevin Keegan in the house, high emotion is sure to abound. Okay, they won’t go down but are they really better off now than when Fat Sam came in? The only true advantage I can see is that when Keegan is removed midway through next season (and if form even resembling the present run of results happens early next year he will certainly be on the way back to the Soccer Circus) is that Newcastle fans, having finally been given everything they wanted, will learn from their mistakes and not deify their manager only to be hugely disappointed once again. But wait, what’s that coming over the hill? It’s Alan Shearer. It’s Alan Shearerrrrrrr!

I think the struggle will continue for Newcastle whoever is in charge as their squad needs a huge turnaround. Alex McLeish however, has shown that working with average players, making them play to their strengths and giving room to genuine talent like McFadden and Larsson can pay rich dividends. Were it not for the fact that McLeish is a big friend of Andy Gray I’d be genuinely happy for the man who was ran out of Rangers is an awful fashion by their chairman.

And what of the other managerial turnarounds? Steve Bruce, Paul Jewell and Roy Hodgson all have difficult tasks ahead of them but will get time to turn things around next year (Hodgson will if he wants to), in the Championship or Premier League, wherever they end up.

So, all in all, most average teams (Brum, Wigan… godawful Derby and Fulham) have stayed pretty average teams after a change of management, out of sorts title contenders (Chelsea) have stayed out of sorts for brief periods of time and lunatic asylums have become bigger homes for the crazy minded (Newcastle). Say what you will but only one managerial change has changed a club in a hugely positive way, so take a bow Mr Ramos, we can only hope that you don’t listen to Damien Comoli during the summer and Spurs ascent may continue to greater heights.

Later, JJ

1 comment:

free bets said...

all i know is that since Megson has been at Bolton its been exposed that he has a lot of managerial frailities