Manager Transfer Bombs
The self promoting robot that is Sky is already advertising Transfer Deadline Day as yet another life changing event. The January rumour mill is Jim White’s performance enhancing drug of choice. I wouldn’t want to be around him during his downers on February 1st after his multiple transfergasms of the day before.
Breaking News: Shaun Derry has signed a one-year contract extension with QPR. What is the opposite of a racing pulse? Death.
The mid-season transfer window is more risky and complex than the summer one. Therefore there are fewer big/interesting deals but why should that stop the Sky hype (Skype?) machine preparing you for one of the less important days in your life.
The hype often ends up as tripe. Reporters Bryan Swanson and Dharmesh Sheth can stick that big expensive screen up their “Sky sources” arse.
What has been rather more intriguing is the managerial comings, goings and stayings.
A Pep bomb hit the insular Premier League world last week. When it was surprisingly revealed that ex-Barca guru Pep Guardiola had decided to take up the Bayern Munich Head Coach post from next season, the Premier League loyalists looked around at each other dumbfounded. That he chose to take over at the four-time European champions and last season’s beaten finalist at the Allianz Arena has shaken things up a bit. The growing global popularity of the Bundesliga, with two outstanding sides in Bayern and Borussia Dortmund – who twice outplayed English champions Man City this season – will be further enhanced by the most wanted coach in the world.
A worthwhile thought to those who assume he was put off Chelsea because of their trigger happy owner is that Bayern have had six managers in the last five years. His mouth-watering battles against Jurgen Klopp – if he’s still at Dortmund next year – deserve a Sky type build up.
It will be fascinating to see how Pep adjusts without the best players in the world, even if he has chosen the biggest and wealthiest team in the Bundesliga. His success at Barcelona should be remembered in the context of the declining side he inherited in 2008 from Frank Rijkaard. He had continuously evolved his Barca side, aided by some legends of the game, into perhaps the greatest team of them all. For example, under his tutelage, Leo Messi had become an even better genius! The Bayern setup has similarities and I for one am excited by his future collaboration with Philipp Lahm, an elegant attacking full back who would have thrived in Pep’s Barca team.
It will be engrossing to see the intelligent, deep thinking manager, tested outside of his beloved Barcelona and to watch his unusual three-year deal unfold as he was always on 12 month rolling contracts at the Camp Nou. We are in for an enthralling ride.
Another news grenade went off at Southampton last week. Following two successive promotions and a good start to their quest for 17th place or above in the Premier League, Nigel Adkins’ young side were busy seizing their battle for survival with some very good performances. His reward, of course, was to get sacked. Chairman Nicola Cortese’s decision to appoint young Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino as the new manager is a good and exciting one. The decision to sack Adkins was awful and unjustified.
His position was unstable following a tough start to the season, albeit with a tough fixture list. His post was under threat going into the showdown with QPR, whose underperforming manager Mark Hughes was sealing the envelope containing his own P45 with that feeble 3-1 home loss. Even if they had lost then a sacking for Adkins would have been harsh. But now, having stabilised the club outside the relegation zone and following a commendable come from behind 2-2 draw at Chelsea, it seems utterly nonsensical.
Cortese has previous. It should be remembered that Adkins got the job in the first place in 2010 when Alan Pardew was controversially sacked at St Mary’s following a 4-0 win. A coach who was doing well under tough circumstances – they were recovering from administration – was relieved of his duties amid rumours of personality clashes. Funnily that decision proved to benefit both Southampton and Pardew as he got the Newcastle job later that year.
At that point the scope for improvement was much bigger. Now it will be tough for the former Espanyol boss to improve his new side significantly following Adkins’ good work. Their survival is still in a precarious position. The intelligent Argentinian who has been compared to Pep and Pep’s mentor Marcelo Bielsa, has admitted studying the Saints squad for a few weeks now further indicating the Adkins sacking was being orchestrated for a while. The tasteless lack of any mention or gratitude to Adkins in the matchday programme preceding the 0-0 draw against Everton only strengthens suspicion that Cortese had a personal grudge and not a professional one.
Many experts are outraged at the lack of time afforded to managers. Presumably they would have been satisfied when Pardew got a new 8 (eight, as they type on Final Score) year contract at Newcastle. Last season his team did remarkably well to achieve fifth place in the league. Pardew did extremely well with a stable side that managed to stay, by and large, fit and firing. Now unfit and misfiring they have had a worrying slump and lie sixteenth in the table following 10 defeats in 13.
Will the unpredictable owner Mike Ashley stand by his man or will he get nervous and seek the injection of new ideas if the St James’ Park outfit continue to decline? Has he held himself to ransom by awarding that 8 (eight) year contract? Hopefully the Magpies will get some of their players back and start climbing the table again. But as captain Coloccini seeks to jump ship, you cannot take your eyes of the crumbling situation in the North East.
Chelsea’s wish for Guardiola to succeed popular interim manager Rafa Benitez next season has gone up in smoke. If Abramovich wanted to win over the fans – he doesn’t give a rat’s ass – the possibility of reappointing the Special One, the almost certain to be available Jose Mourinho, is on the table. Now that will be a seismic event. Even Sky News will have it on their Breaking News ticker.
David Moyes, who in any other country would have got the chance at a top job following his excellent job at Everton over the past decade, will most likely, and sadly, continue to be overlooked.
Anyway I’m off to find Shaun Derry and see if I can borrow a fiver.
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