Er hardly. Well several of us have been saying it from the day he was appointed that Sam Lee wouldn’t last long as Bolton manager and this morning he’s left the club. ‘By mutual consent’ it’s said, but that’s just a sop as we all know. He just didn’t look like a leader to me; it’s nothing to do with him being short (it didn’t stop Napoleon), but having the moniker Little Sammy Lee – especially following a guy referred to as Big Sam Allardyce – just doesn’t help him be authoritative. He had to be smart to prove his qualities but he made the mistake of trying to act and look tough.
For years we’ve just known him as a nice amenable guy. Another great No 2. I always thought he’d have difficulty handling the big sulky egos in the side like Anelka. By all accounts he’s failed to form a rapport with the club’s most popular player, Ivan Campo, and even the ultra professional guys in the team not least his captain, Kevin Nolan, and his coaching assistant and still key player, Gary Speed. For heaven’s sake. You’ve got to have the respect of the bulk of your team; looks like he had none. Dead man walking.
So Lee’s gone. Who’s to replace him? Well since I’m on a forecasting roll how about Paul Jewell assisted by a re-instated Gary Speed. PJ lives in the NW, is available and has a proven track record of keeping unfashionable side in the Premiership. Starts tomorrow? Next for the chop? I don’t really get a kick from this but it’s got to be Steve Staunton as Republic of Ireland manager. He too just doesn’t look like a manager, he’s got no leadership qualities that I can see; he looks like a decent fellow but fairly shy, softly spoken and diffident. It’s not about acting like a tough guy, as Sammy Lee tried to do, it’s about making good decisions and convincing/inspiring others to follow those decisions. 3 of the best managers I’ve ever worked for have been women (and lovely women too, not harpies if that’s what you were thinking). I should add that one of the very worst was also a woman. Now she was…leave it. As for Stan Staunton I’m absolutely sure that Sir Bobby Robson is there as his assistant, for advice yes, but significantly I reckon to bring some gravitas, weight and credibility to the management regime. And that the FA of Ireland, knowing Stan’s nature, would have felt it to be necessary. They’ll be finding it necessary to dig out the P45 soon too, sadly.
And speaking of FAs I wonder if the Welsh one will be checking details with their solicitors this morning after yesterday’s outburst from their manager John the tosser Toshack. He just ranted on about how pampered and gutless the Welsh team players are and how uselessly they played against the mighty Cyprus. Well that’s honest JT but you picked ’em son and I guess very few will be dying to turn up for the next friendly match mate. That’s another lesson in man management – don’t slag off your team publicly unless you have better replacements in the wings or just fancy a pay-off. I suspect the answers are no and yes.
I’ve also said that Avram will be shunted back upstairs before long by the man who runs the Russian FA though I’d be more than happy for Chelsea to continue to be run like a West End farce (life imitating Hearts?). As you know I have also been barking for McClaren to go since he was installed as England manager by a panicky FA. Tonight he could prove me wrong by getting a result against Russia and earning qualification by England for the Euro 2008 Championships. He’s been lucky (if that doesn’t sound perverse) that injuries and suspensions have forced him to make selections which have resulted in a balanced team and better performances. I don’t rate him as a manager because he couldn’t make the right decisions when he had selection choices. And one more thing, what on earth was that farce yesterday when John Terry was permitted to host his own press conference to declare his fitness to play tonight, only for McLaren to follow that up with a comment to the effect that he had still to make a final selection decision. And then half an hour later to declare that Terry had suffered further injury to his damaged knee during final training which would definitely put him out of the match tonight.
Can someone at the FA please get a grip (and not Tord again ) oh… and come on England of course. Another win and we’re through and he stays. Every silver lining has its cloud I guess.