In January 2006 it was announced that Sven Goran-Eriksson was to leave the England post. The edict from the FA was that after being managed by an overseas coach the next manager was to be British. Now by no means the only candidates but Steve McClaren and Sam Allardyce were up against each other and it was the ex-Manchester United coach and at the time Middlesbrough manager who got the gig in May 2006 after Big Sam did not even get down to the final two. Roll on 18 months and a disastrous Euro 2008 campaign ended in failure after a defeat by Croatia at Wembley and the people who picked McClaren promptly sacked him, basically admitting they got the decision wrong in choosing McClaren ahead of Allardyce.
Roll on this season and they were both pitted against each other again this time in the Northeast, McClaren as manager of Newcastle and Allardyce at Sunderland when he was brought in during October to save them from relegation after an awful start to the campaign. He has duly done this after a concerted campaign a 3-0 win over Everton secured safety and relegated Newcastle in the process – cue amazing scenes at the Stadium of Light. McClaren, was not manager at the time the Toon’s relegation was confirmed — he was sacked in March after only 9 months and was the main reason the Geordie side were in the bottom reaches of the tables and his replacement, Rafa Benitez, whilst improving Newcastle’s fortune on the pitch did not have sufficient time to recover thanks to the Black Cats down the road. Ironically in January 2008 Big Sam left Newcastle by mutual consent (basically he was sacked), he now has his revenge – keeping up Sunderland and relegating their bitter local rivals at the same time. What odds a statue soon.
THE POCH WAY
As we stand Tottenham Hotspur have an exciting future, surely with Mauricio Pochettino as manager as it would be stupid of him to leave with a young vibrant squad with a bit of edge who have had a brilliant season and Champions League qualification for the next campaign secured. But for me the key thing that the Argentine manager has done is making sure Chairman Daniel Levy has left footballing issues in regards to day to day team affairs to the footballing staff, at least publically anyways, and been left to arrange deals for incoming and outgoing players. Levy is an outstanding administrator, his work on securing a new stadium has to be lauded, but he has poked his nose into team affairs on numerous occasions under previous managers which has invariably led to a breakdown in their relationships with only one winner and then its another new beginning with these regular managerial changes. It is no coincidence, that Pochettino’s, ”I’m in charge of the football team’ stance has given Spurs fans real hope with the best team in a generation bringing credence to the old adage (that I think I have just made up) ‘let people who know what they are doing get on with what they know without interference from people who don’t’.
Surely even clueless football idiot Ed Woodward has realised now Louis Van Gaal needs to be let go – FA Cup win or not. For the record it was February when I thought the time had come for change. However Ed has not sacked him, not because of money in my opinion but because he does not want to look an idiot publically – all about his ego than the welfare of the club for me – especially as he has not even publically backed the manager. Manchester United talk about being a global brand and one of the biggest clubs in the world, maybe commercially but on the pitch they are joke now and a laughing stock amongst Europe’s elite. Key times ahead for commercial man Ed, especially as there is a big gaping chasm of funds due to likely non-qualification for the Champions League – maybe that’s the problem – non footballing people making – or not as the case is at the moment – football decisions at the highest level. Look at AC Milan – a European giant (they have 7 European Cups to their name), but as I post this blog they are outside of the Europa League places in Serie A and they last qualified for the the Champions League in the 2013/14 season – United beware.
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