The Roker Ramble: Managerial Merry-Go-Round Leaving People Dizzy
I would be surprised if, loyal reader, you didn't know what this section of our website is all about now. It's our opportunity to take the SAFC glasses off for five minutes, and have a look at what's going on in football outside of our club.
With that in mind, and a few things happening in the game that caught my eye recently, and taking into account what has happened already at Sunderland this season, I thought I would have a look at the world of management.
The managerial merry-go round has finally gained a bit of pace, and is approaching full swing. Mick McCarthy bit the bullet at Wolves after a derby performance against West Brom that surely only Steve Bruce can understand, and the Football League's representatives in West Yorkshire (sorry Bradford, but I'm going to have to ignore you for a minute) were rocked by their managers being relieved of their duties.
So, with the transfer window done and dusted until the summer, is now the right time for clubs to be getting rid of managers? The press would certainly have you believe that, actually, no. When Mick McCarthy found himself at the front of the jobseekers' allowance queue, the general consensus was that Wolves had made a mistake in letting him go. A number of journalists and bloggers actually claimed that the club should have given him more time, but at what point does 'time' mean that the club is actually just slipping closer to the threat of relegation?
Sunderland are a case in point for the positive effect that a change of manager can bring to a football club. No-one could actually predict where the Black Cats would be if Steve Bruce hadn't been shown the door. Remember that we lost to Wigan at home only weeks before taking them apart at their own ground.
There is a saying in football management that 'you are only as good as your last game'. Although it is approaching a cliche, it is a good indicator of the fickle nature of the modern football fan. Which begs the question, if a manager really is only as good as his last game, why do Wolves think that Steve Bruce is the man to keep them in the Premier League this season? Admittedly, Bruce was almost a victim of his own success at Sunderland, however moderate that success actually was. As a manager that was happy to keep teams in the division in his time at Wigan and Birmingham, he wasn't cut out for Sunderland's dreams of becoming an established top eight team, and his cup record isn't worth mentioning.
However, with Wolves merely desperate to stay in the Premier League this season, Bruce could well prove to be a shrewd piece of business by the Midlands club's board.
The other news that got people talking was Simon Grayson's departure from Leeds, and your friend and mine, Lee Clark finding himself our on his rear from Huddersfield Town.
Starting with Clark, Twitter went into some sort of semi-meltdown when the news broke that he'd been sacked from Huddersfield. Although early reports suggested that he'd walked away from the club to take over the Leeds position vacated by the afore-mentioned Grayson, the football gods had a more entertaining plan in mind, with the whole plan working in reverse, and Simon's name being etched onto the offices at the Galpharm. The football world poured scorn on the Huddersfield board for their decision to do away with Clark, and the stats would suggest that it is understandable. After suffering only three defeats in 55 games, the Town boss could probably feel harshly done by to get the boot, and that was backed up by tweets from people such as Stan Collymore and Wayne Rooney.
Interestingly though, and almost certainly more tellingly, Huddersfield Town's own fans were happy to see him go. In a similar situation to Bruce at Sunderland, Clark was given time and money to win the Terriers promotion, and despite rebuilding his squad on numerous occasions, he leaves the team unlikely to win automatic promotion again.
So is Grayson the man to take the team into the promised land of the Championship? He was booted out of Leeds for not being able to get them promoted, so what says he will fare any better in League One?
Should teams sack managers at this point of the season? Does it give the new man in charge enough time to influence their new sides? With no possibility of bringing in new players, there are arguments that a new man is asking for trouble by taking over a club at this stage of the season.
Only time will tell as to who gets the big job at Molineux, and what will happen with both Leeds and Huddersfield, but with the merry-go round now in full swing (yes, pun intended) - there will be interesting times ahead in both the Midlands, and West Yorkshire.