Well I may not be 100% accurate with forecasting the outcome of major sporting events but in terms of managerial casualties I’m on a roll. Following Mourinho and Lee’s departure, this week also saw the departures of Jol and Staunton. Jol’s has been coming for a while of course. I did say pre-season that unless he’d got off to a flyer, he’d be under instant pressure having spent £40m in the summer.
Spurs’ season is still waiting to lift-off of course and as soon as compensation was settled he was out. I still reckon his failure to capitalise on that lead against Chelsea last season was his achilles heel. It showed the Board that he didn’t have the killer instinct. A shame because he was one of the more likable characters in the managerial fold. Ramos his replacement must represent another huge gamble by the Tottenham Board. He’s got no experience of the Premiership and he’s costing a fortune in salary (did I read a £20m contract?) plus he’ll be bringing in a string of new assistants following the departures of Hughton and Segers. He’ll also have been promised some money in the January window I’m assuming. Following the pay-offs to Jol et al I wonder what the total cost to Spurs is in making the change? £50-60m? It’ll be interesting to see how it works out.
I’m slightly sad that Spurs couldn’t look more locally for a new manager – Mark Hughes looks an outstanding candidate to me. Maybe it’s my Man U bias but I think he will be tremendous value for one of the bigger clubs. Surely Chelsea could have given him a try before Grant? I’m also slightly surprised that Spurs didn’t make more of a play for Klinsmann once they had been initially rebuffed by Ramos. His background and love for the club would have given him a head start with the fans and he would have been able to bring the best German talent to the club. Now it’s going to be yet more Spaniards – and presumably the ones Benitez doesn’t fancy.
Staunton’s dismissal by the Irish FA was inevitable wasn’t it? He never looked the part from day one as I’ve been banging on. How can an association make such a huge mistake? It mystifies me. Now apparently they intend to appoint a panel first to take responsibility for the next appointment (and the blame no doubt should it all go wrong again). Already we are seeing some delicate PRing from candidates declaring themselves available for the panel but not the key job and vice versa. David O’Leary apparently fancies the job but doesn’t want to go through an interview process. Yeh I ‘d give it to you son…not. This should be fun. What do they say about committees and camels?
So who’s next? Well McClaren’s departure surely cannot be long delayed. Even if Russia do slip up and we squeeze through a crack in the door into Euro 2008 it’s apparent he isn’t the man for the job. I just hope Brainiac Barwick is already hunting down the right man for the job. John Toshack time has come and gone, again, hasn’t it? Nobody wants to play for him; he thinks all his players are crap. Give it to Gary Speed and get on with it. Grant’s proving to have stickability but surely Henk ten Cate didn ‘t leave Ajax just to run on with the sponge. A diplomatic departure back upstairs for Grant to be engineered by big Red by Xmas? Davis and Hutchins are hanging in there. Southgate must be coming under pressure. Unless he buys some classy strikers in January he’s out I reckon.
What about the other replacement of the week, Megson at Bolton? Is Phil Gartside a closet member of the Irish FA? What are his expectations of Megson – that he’ll rant just enough at the players to keep them in the Premiership? That I reckon is just about it. Mind you Megson did succeed in taking former European Champions down into Div 1, the third tier of English football. I reckon that all that work established by Allardyce and his team to get Bolton into 5th place in the Premiership is being frittered away rapidly. I cannot see Annelka or any classy overseas players electing to play for the club now. The vultures among the clubs on the relegation fringe (Birmingham, Fulham, Boro etc) will be picking off the juicier pieces in January. Annelka and Davies to Boro?
The season just got interesting!