The managerial merry-go-round is utter madness

Andre Villas-Boas

Andre Villas-Boas

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CALL it a weird flight of fancy if you will – but whenever there is a spate of managerial sackings, it always reminds me of that old toy commercial with the message: ‘Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down’.

Soccer management has become a more precarious business than before, but they are a resilient, hard-nosed, often egocentric breed, and there’s no knocking them down.

And if they can’t get back on the old merry-go-round, then there’s always Sky’s Soccer Saturday or some such punditry to fall back on – or like the recently sacked Les Parry (Tranmere) and Jamie Pitman (Hereford), go back to physio.

Setbacks – and the sack – are part and parcel of a manager’s job, but it never puts them off and they keep coming back for more.

Even the need for a bodyguard has failed to scare Steve Kean off at Blackburn.

And when a manager does get the push, there is a Gadarene rush to replace him by fellow members of the League Managers’ Association.

Reputations are ‘earned’ – and then just as quickly lost.

Not so long ago, Ady Boothroyd was being lauded to the skies for the sterling job he did in getting Watford to the top flight – now he is in charge of Northampton Town, who might not be in the Football League next season.

Similarly, Steve Bruce was once talked of in some quarters as a potential successor to Sir Alex Ferguson, but Sunderland fans were glad to see him go, and it appeared that Wolves were scared off appointing him by fan power.

Wolves are one club who have got themselves into a conundrum over their manager, and must be wondering why they sacked Mick McCarthy in the first place, particularly as they didn’t have a successor lined up.

Chelsea deserve even less sympathy.

They have had a revolving door policy that continued with the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas, who had been the archetypal dead man walking for weeks before becoming Chelsea’s eighth manager in nine years, which is a disgraceful turnover of staff.

The position is polluted even further with the suggestion that player power was a major contributory fact in undermining the manager.

But then the compo cheque for the Portuguese will cushion any hurt.

Reputations don’t count for a great deal.

Is Roy Hodgson one of the outstanding managers of his generation? It’s never a clear case of black and white.

Opinions would be diametrically opposed on that issue, depending on whether you canvass the opinions of Blackburn and Liverpool fans, or those of West Brom and Fulham.

You would have thought managers at the top end of the table would be immune from the spectre of the sack, but the ground rules have now changed.

Lee Clark was still in play-off contention, and can look back on a record run of 43 unbeaten matches and only three defeats all season, but it was not enough to save him.

Gary Megson left Sheffield Wednesday just after achieving the most important result of the season for the Owls – a win over the Blades – but he too had to go.

But in Megson’s case, he would be on dodgy ground when playing the disloyalty card, because he once walked out on Blackpool to go to Stockport.

Rather like all that Weebles palaver, soccer management is one queer game – but there are loads who love to play it and bounce back, their upset tempered by sweet severance payments.

n THE resignation of Fabio Capello as coach has only served to throw England’s preparation for the European Championships into total confusion.

We have no idea what the team will be – except Joe Hart is a banker to be in goal – and the new man, whoever he is, will need time for his ideas to bed in, and time is not on his side.

Urgent action is needed and the later the FA leave it the worse it becomes.

The sight of Stuart Pearce and Steve Wigley in the dug-out ‘plotting’ the downfall of Holland at Wembley last week hardly makes you feel brimful of confidence.