BLACKPOOL FC have a claim to fame to be proud of.
Forget winning the FA Cup in 1953, the Anglo Italian Trophy in ‘71 or promotion to the Premier League in 2010. Who cares about Mortensen and Matthews, Jimmy Hampson or Alan Ball?
No, this is the accolade we’ve all been waiting for – cue drum roll... the Seasiders have made the top 10 of shortest ever managerial reigns.
That’s right, what an honour!
Some call what has happened at Bloomfield Road recently a shambles. Not me, I think to have a manager in situ for as little as 64 days (the sum total of Michael Appleton’s stay) is a remarkable achievement and fine work by everyone involved.
Let’s be honest, the club isn’t going to win the FA Cup this year and promotion is looking less likely by the week so it had to adapt and find new aims and ambitions. They’ve done it marvellously. Making the sought-after top 10 list makes them the envy of football and might just have saved the season!
For the non-football folk among you who may be confused, let me briefly recap.
Blackpool FC hired a new manager (Appleton) in November. He walked out to join Blackburn Rovers last week, barely a couple of months into the job – a remarkably short time for a manager to be at the helm of a club.
So short, in fact, Pool and Appleton are a new entry at number 10 in the list of shortest managerial stays in English football – ousting previous incumbent Colin Todd, who was at Derby for 98 days in 2001 before being given the boot after a poor run of results.
Ironically the man ahead of Appleton in the short-stay list – at number nine – is Henning Berg … whose departure from Blackburn was the catalyst for Appleton turning his back on Blackpool and moving to Ewood Park.
Berg’s appointment was – and this is putting it as nicely as possible – a complete disaster.
Blackburn fans thought their problems were over when the board finally got rid of the much-maligned Steve Kean and appointed Berg, who had previously been working as a summariser on Norwegian TV, after being sacked from his previous management job (good research by the Rovers board there).
Berg received a hero’s welcome before his first match and started as he meant to go on – a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace. He was sacked along with his entire coaching staff 57 days later.
But it isn’t just bad managers in the top 10 of shortest reigns, with others on the list including the late, great Brian Clough.
His legendary 44-day stay at Leeds United in 1974 was so bizarre it was made into a film (The Damned United). ‘Old Big Head’ found Elland Road a nightmare – not helped by the fact that before accepting the job, he regularly slated Leeds players.
Steve Coppell is at number six, lasting 33 days at Manchester City before quitting, citing stress – which seems a rather flimsy excuse – the very essence of management is stress.
The top three of football’s shortest stays are where it really gets interesting.
At three, Martin Ling, appointed by Cambridge United in 2009 … walked out nine days later because he couldn’t get on with the chairman (a feeling Appleton might perhaps relate to).
At two, Dave Bassett, whose reign at Crystal Palace was shorter than your average family holiday. He arrived at Selhurst Park in 1984, realised he preferred previous club Wimbeldon and so quit after just four days. Alas the reaction of the Crystal Palace chairman is not printable in a family publication such as this.
But top of the manager pops is Leroy Rosenior, who holds a record unlikely to be beaten.
His stay at Torquay United in 2007 lasted … 10 minutes. Rosenior had the misfortune of being appointed Torquay manager as the club was being taken over by a local consortium. Papers signed, they wanted their own man in and Rosenior was gone 600 seconds after he started.
So don’t rest on your laurels Blackpool, you can improve. Tenth place is good, a solid start, but sack the next manager nine minutes or less into his reign and a little piece of footballing history could be yours.
Do’s and dont’s of car de-icement
IT’S that time of year again – icy car window season.
I like to spend most of this period watching the different techniques adopted by neighbours to de-ice their vehicle of a morning.
It seems to me there are four main methods: the all-night blanket over the window (a lot of effort); the kettle over the windscreen (risky); a good old fashioned scraper (cold hands); or – and the one I’m fond of – the set off for work with a still fully frozen windscreen, all the while not quite sure where you are on the road or if there is anything else coming.
This latter method, I think I’m right in saying, isn’t generally recommended by the authorities but, come on, there have been occasions we’ve all done it.
In my case it’s when I’ve been running late for work, which seems to happen quite often. I’ve never quite worked out why this is. I begin work at 9 and my alarm clock goes off at 8.38am, ample time in anyone’s book to have a shower and make it to the office.
But it does depend on no hold-ups in the morning routine, so the last thing I need is a frozen car.
Occasionally I’ll race back inside, fill the kettle with warm water and chuck it over the windscreen, though this technique worries me as whenever I mention it to someone they always shake their head in grim fashion and remark: “Never, ever, do that. Sure as eggs is eggs, it’ll crack the glass”. My windscreens have remained in tact for the 30 years I‘ve been using a kettle, but I always feel nervous about it nonetheless.
So the usual method is jump in the car (after spending two minutes yanking at a frozen car door that definitely doesn’t want to open), put the de-icer gadget on full blast and set off.
I always feel they should include this in a driving test.
“Right Mr Canavan, we’d like you to navigate the bend ahead while having five per cent visibility because the windscreen is covered in a thick layer of ice”.
The trick, as any right-minded car owner will know, is to wind down the window and drive with your head sticking out, a bit like a dog (again, I’m pretty sure not the recommended method of driving).
You don’t need to do this for long (and a good job as frostbite to the ears is always a danger), as the ice on the windscreen slowly thaws throughout the journey.
Inevitably, and as if on purpose, the last bit melts just as you turn into the car park at work.
Engine off, inside for eight hours – then repeat the process on the way home. Must buy some de-icer some day, it would be so much simpler.
A springboard of opportunity
I’M not generally a fan of television but after reading the reviews of Splash, the new ITV Saturday night show featuring Olympic diver Tom Daley’s six-pack, I tuned in last week to see what it was all about.
I lasted all of 10 minutes, though happily these coincided with the diving efforts of supermodel Caprice, who must have been mortified that she had chosen a swimsuit at least three sizes too small.
It is a terrible programme, but could be vastly improved as a spectacle, as one TV critic wrote, if they used concrete instead of water.