Managerial merry-go-round making us dizzy!

by Mystical Mike

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

The silly season has begun

The new Premier League season is still well over two months away and the fixtures have not yet been published, but the great managerial merry-go-round is already in full swing.

Chelsea’s players had barely got their feet back on English soil after their Champions League defeat to Manchester United in Moscow and Avram Grant was out of the Stamford Bridge exit door! That got the wheels in motion, before Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra finally pulled the trigger on Sven-Goran Eriksson this week following a month of speculation about the Swede’s future at Eastlands.

That has left two top-flight clubs without a manager and on the look out for a new man to take them on to glory! And, at the moment, Blackburn Rovers appear to be the big losers in the managerial swap shop as City and Chelsea have both expressed an interest in their manager Mark Hughes.

Merry go round

At the moment Hughes looks like heading for City, while Chelsea have been snubbed by Russia coach Guus Hiddink, Portugal coach ‘Big ‘Phil’ Scolari and AC Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti. And Chelsea fans can forget about Jose Mourinho returning as the ‘Special One’ is now at the ‘Special Club’ Inter Milan.
Inter’s former coach Roberto Mancini has been linked with a possible move to Chelsea, but he will reportedly become a target of City should the Londoners hijack their bid to take Hughes from Blackburn! Anyone confused yet?

Blackburn in the meantime have been linked with jobless former Bolton and Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce, former Middlesbrough and England boss Steve McClaren – who I thought was going to Dutch side FC Twente – and Derby boss Paul Jewell, who wants to stay at Pride Park.

This managerial merry-go-round is fantastic for the football betting fraternity, but it does absolutely nothing for the clubs in question!

Blackburn have progressed in leaps and bounds under the leadership of Hughes, who has proved to be an excellent coach, guiding the club to European football twice, two FA Cup semi-finals and regular top-ten finishes, while he is very astute in the transfer market at Ewood Park. Roque Santa Cruz and Benni McCarthy are testament to that! Losing him could be a real hammer blow for Rovers and their football odds for the new season could be affected depending on who comes in.

Hughes will have his work cut pleasing Mr Shinawatra at City as Eriksson’s ninth place finish, a rare league double over deadly local rivals Manchester United and a place in the UEFA Cup via the Fair Play League was no good! Does this mean the axe will be getting sharpened again if no silverware is on display at Eastlands in 12 months’ time?

At Chelsea, Grant stepped in to replace Mourinho last September and guided the club to the Carling Cup final, pushed United all the way to the last day of the season in the Premier League title race and was a goal post width away from bringing the Champions League title to Stamford Bridge! True there was no silverware but it bemuses me that owner Roman Abramovich did not see the future potential had he shown a grain of loyalty to Grant? All this chopping and changing so early in the summer does not bode well for the new campaign with nine clubs changing managers last season and already three destined to change hands before a ball is kicked this time around.

There appears to be no patience and loyalty in the game anymore – apart from the likes of Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson and Sunderland supremo Niall Quinn – while the best example of resisting change and reaping the rewards is still on the go at Old Trafford as Sir Alex Ferguson heads towards his 22nd year at the Manchester United helm. Take note Mr Abramovich and Mr Shinawatra!


Written by Craig Smithson, a professional sports writer who blogs about football betting at Betfair.

Dexy welcomes Craig Smithson to the Den. Craig is a freelance football writer and broadcaster. He began writing for Amateur Golf publication ‘National Club Golfer’ in 1997, before moving to TEAMtalk in May 1998. At TEAMtalk he was part of the launch of the UK’s biggest independent football website. As a lifelong Middlesbrough fan, he was delighted to be made the club’s TEAMtalk editor before eventually leaving the company in 2003. Since then he has gone freelance providing articles for the likes of ‘Shoot Magazine’, while writing blogs on football.

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  • Darren

    I think Inter will be a true test for the ‘special one’, he won’t have Abramavichs millions but he has inherited a top top side. I think he should change his name to the ‘lucky one’.

    I’m pretty surprised at Mark Hughes actually, I thought he would have waited for the United job, it will be hard for him to go there if he does take the City job.

    There does seem to be a lack loyalty in the game today, look at Everton with David Moyes, a few seasons ago they were doomed and on the brink of falling down to the Championship, but the chairman stuck with him and look at them now, top of the other league!!

    As for Chelski, I would like to Peggy have a go, with all that money it would be hard to fail

  • JJ

    Mark Hughes has made a big mistake., what a sell out. Money money money, it will all end in tears. and like Big Sam he will soon be gone and working for Channel 5

  • Tef1on

    Huyghes is going to follow is Fat Sam Allardice’s footsteps….

    Mark has left a good thing at Blackburn who if they got their heads down could get a euro spot… instead he just left a good team for lets be honest, a shite team thats underachieving… Man City vs Blackburn… who has more potential? I just cant see what he hopes to do there!

  • Mike

    What’s wrong with Mark Hughes going to a bigger club with bigger gates and more fans.

    If you worked at Asda and Marks and Sparks came in for you you would go right?

    Blackburn are a very small club, they will never get 30,000 gates in a million years. He’ll have funds to buy better players and try to break into the top four

    I fear for Blackburn as they will be the new Bolton if Big Sam takes over, I would say they are made for each other!!

  • Darren

    Steve McClown could be on his way to Eward Park, or so he thinks, what a come down that would be. It seems that Paul Ince is the leading man now, gutted McClown!

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