The age of football management is dead. In only a few bloody days, the whole landscape of top-flight football has changed, and even more unstable times lay ahead.
In a usually calm time for football – the lull before the transfer window opens again – the world outside the top four is going off the rails.
In the space of a few days, the proverbial has hit the fan. Case in hand Wigan. This is a team who have worked wonders to stay in the Premiership for two consecutive seasons with nothing much in terms of resources. Now they have lost their key asset Paul Jewell, perhaps to another, bigger club, perhaps he just could not handle the pressure of expectation any more.
Manchester City have also done away with Stuart Pearce, their new owner saying he will only consider foreign managers. Perhaps he believes that foreign coaches are some kind of a magic formula for success, a la Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Sheffield United, relegated after putting up a good fight to survive for as long as they did on a limited budget, have now lost Neil Warnock. While Warnock has never been the most popular of figures in football management, remember that United are a deeply unfashionable team, and they are devoid of any real Premiership talent or finances. To even take them into the Premier League in the first place was a massive achievement.
And not long ago, Glenn Roeder — shown the door at Newcastle after just one full season in charge of the club.
Weeks before, Chris Coleman, who had achieved so much at cash-strapped Fulham, was shown the door after achieving so much with the club after daring to critise the board for a lack of funding.
There is something not right about this impromptu turbo-boost spin of the managerial merry-go-round.
The appointments that have been made in the wake of this mini-cull carry with them the distinct odour of desperation. Sam Allardyce has worked miracles at Bolton — maybe he will do the same at Newcastle, but just how many false managerial dawns have Geordies been through to get to Big Sam? Lawrie Sanchez has pulled a few excellent results out of the bag for Northern Ireland — is there really any chance of him doing the same for Fulham with no real funding?
For the past two years, a club making their Premiership debut has astounded all the critics and punched way above their weight. First there was Wigan, this season there has been Reading. It seems that the manager du jour is Derby coach Bill Davies. What odds on his name being bandied about at City and the rest?
Steve Coppell is LMA manager of the year for a second year running, but what will happen to him if Reading get drawn into the relegation battle next season?
It has become almost impossible to make anything of these appointments. Exactly how are we to judge Roeder’s tenure at Newcastle? Just because Benitez won the Champions League in his first season at Liverpool, Mourinho at Chelsea won the Premier League in his, are we now to expect wonders of this scale within a season now? Remember that Sir Alex Ferguson had a torrid first few years at Man United, but look what he has achieved since. Nine Premiership titles and a European Cup.
The pace of change and the pressure managers are under has become totally unreasonable. Whatever happened to picking who you think the right man for the job is and sticking with them for a while? Fad managerial appointments have to stop, the idea of appointing whatever en vogue manager has been lucky enough to have fate on his side for a few weeks is simply crazy, but there is not an end in sight.
Top —flight football management is dead. Brace yourselves for the age of the miracle worker.