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The Sack Race

The Sack Race
Most teams have played just TEN league games this season. We`re just 900 minutes into the 2007/2008 campaign, and already there have been NINE casualites. The first saw Neil McDonald removed as Carlisle manager after just ONE game. The Cumbrians have since had two more managers!

In this weeks [slightly late] memoirs I am going to look at the managers I believe will be next to go and look the pro`s and con`s of giving the boss the boot so soon…

So. Who is next for the chop? There are a number of candidates, mostly in the Premiership, but certainly a couple in the Championship too.

The man who is under the most pressure in the Premiership has to bee little Sammy Lee. Since taking over at the end of last season the diminutive Scouser has managed to win just three of his fourteen games in charge of the Trotters.

It was always going to be hard for little Sammy to take the reins as the assistant to Big Sam, but also with the unrivalled success that Sam Allardyce sampled it the Reebok, a huge amount of pressure has been put on his, well, little shoulders.

I think the signings that Sammy Lee has made signify exactly how hard it has been for him to add to his squad. Whilst Allardyce was able to convince players like Campo, Anelka and Diouf to move to Lancashire, Lee has signed nobodies such as Daniel Braatan and Mikel Alonso. Sorry, but who? Perhaps they will turn out to be good players in the future, but at the moment are they ready to play a big enough part in Bolton`s revival? I doubt it.

How much longer will Sammy Lee last? Not much I doubt. His side sit bottom of the Premiership and for an established top flight side, this really isn`t good enough.

The other man under huge amounts of pressure in the Premiership, is Martin Jol. The way Tottenham have begun this season is a strange one. For a side that has earnt successive fifth placed finishes to suddenly find themselves fourth from bottom must be a real shock - and one they have to snap out of as soon as possible.

On paper, Jol has a better squad then he has ever had before. With the arrival of Darren Bent to replace the departing and ineffective Mido whilst Younes Kaboul and Gareth Bale have slotted in seamlessly. Yet still the balance is not there. If Bale is the answer on the left-hand side of midfield, then left back is still a problem position. Lee Young Pyo has yet to convince me as a full back in this country and Benoit Assou Ekotto has been out of the thinking this season.

What hasn`t helped Jol`s case is injuries. Losing Ledly King was a hard blow to take, but when you lose another of your best players in Aaron Lennon, it`s easy to blame injuries. If we are to play the blame game with Spurs start to the season, then look no further than 'England No1`, Paul Robinson. If he hadn`t have made blunders against Villa and Liverpool, to note a few, then Spurs would probably have another six points on the board by now. He is also getting beaten from too far out. Look at his positioning for Cesc Fabregas` wonder goal at White Hart Lane. If Robbo had started further back then surely he would not have conceded.

How much longer does he have? I think with the continued speculation about high-calibre managers like Juande Ramos moving it won`t be long - unless the results star to pick up.

The man under the most pressure in the Championship was recently sacked, John Gregory, whilst Peter Grant walked last night. I now firmly believe that Paul Simpson will be the next Championship gaffer to go.

Although it took him a few games to settle in last season, the Lilywhites hadn`t scored a goal until a couple of weeks ago. Although results have picked up at last the couple of weeks, to be languishing so near the relegation zone is very poor.

On paper, the signings have been impressive, Darren Carter has arrived from West Brom and his central midfield partner of Kevin Nicholl`s is proven at this level. What is surely pivotal in their failure this season is the sale of Dave Nugent. Any side who loses a player of Nugent`s quality is going to suffer. It is worth mentioning however that he didn`t score THAT many goals.

His replacements, Hawley and Carroll aren`t really good enough in my opinion whilst Neil Mellor and Adam Nowland have never really proven themselves either.

If any one of these men go within the next fortnight, I will not be surprise having forecasted these departures myself!

I`m struggling to find pro`s to sacking a manager so soon, but here they are:

1. Stopping the rot: If the manager is genuinely to blame, then surely there will be an improvement when the new man takes over.

2. 'The new gaffer effect`: When a new manager comes in, one of two things happen, things continue to go wrong, spectacularly, or the new man has a period of settling in where he wins some games and gets points on the board.

3. Time to turn things around: If the manager goes soon, then things can`t continue to go wrong for as long in theory.

The con`s however, are as follows:

1. Compensation: With the lengths of contract managers sign these days, compensation will be due.

2. Upsetting players: New players especially, but all players should be upset by the departure of the manager if he was likable enough - this doesn`t help team spirit.

3. Re-adjustment: Finally, the re-adjustment of tactics, formations, systems, routines and players is always going to disrupt the harmony amongst the players of and fans of the club.

For those of you that have enjoyed this article, think about my points and then give your opinions below…

Keep the faith,

Tom Bodell

FINALLY, apologies for lateness. I have to confess to having forgotten that these Memoirs needed to be publish. Rest-assured I have been issued with a Luton Town season ticket as a punishment.

Date:Wednesday October 10 2007
Time: 5:37PM


Really interesting article Tom. Simpson is a strange one as PNE don't make a habit of sacking guys after a handful of bad performances but do they have the financial clout to climb free of the bottom? I'm not sure...Robson must also be looking over his shoulder especially if Warnock gets the nod at Palace today.
11/10/2007 09:29:00
I have to admit to forgetting about Robson. He will be gone soon, surely, the amount of money he has spent.
11/10/2007 12:18:00
yeah robson will be the one for me as well
13/10/2007 10:26:00
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