John Helm: Madness of knee-jerk reactions
IF FURTHER evidence were needed as to the insane way football conducts it's business, look no further than the latest spin of the managerial merry-go-round.
Bolton Wanderers gave it the first push by sacking Gary Megson. Who do they get to replace him? Owen Coyle, of Burnley, situated all of FOUR places above them in the Premier League table. Put another way just two points.
Now Burnley have a decision to make. So who do they go for? Brian Laws, yes the same Mr Laws who was sacked the previous month for having taken Sheffield Wednesday to the bottom of the Championship TWENTY NINE places below them in the Football League pyramid.
Wednesday meanwhile fill their gap by appointing Alan Irvine who lost his job at Preston North End a fortnight earlier – they’re just FIVE places above the Owls in the Championship.
Can anyone make sense of that latest shuffle of the pack, or the fact that football managers and Sir Fred Goodwin appear the only people capable of making a bundle of cash for failure?
Of course there are extenuating circumstances, all four aforementioned are decent managers but what guarantee is there that they will do better than the previous incumbent of the seat they now occupy?
Knee-jerk reactions are commonplace in the industry so don’t be surprised if you find Rafa Benitez and Sam Allardyce in the dole queue before long.
Big Sam says he doesn’t have bad vibes about his future at Ewood Park but Rovers are three points above the drop zone and alarm bells will ring louder than ever if they are overtaken by either Laws’ or Coyle’s new charges in the coming weeks.
Benitez is something of a control freak and is playing a dangerous game mixing football management skills with boardroom politics.
You suspect he has never had the full backing of the board at Anfield and some of his signings have been unquestionably woeful.
Yet how slender is the margin between success and failure. In the last seconds of the game at Stoke Dirk Kuyt headed against an upright – six inches separated Liverpool from three priceless points.
On the same day Burnley’s David Nugent should have scored with an easy chance before Manchester United responded with three goals.
Managers jobs hinge on tiny incidents, as Gordon Strachan, recently installed at Middlesbrough reflected: “It’s not much fun but somebody’s got to do it.”