There is no doubt that the job of a Premier League manager is one of the most volatile jobs in world football or any industry for that matter. At the top, despite Chelsea remaining in the mix, the pressure is mounting on Andre Villas-Boas – imagine what it is like if you are down at the bottom. One manager to discover this only too recently is Mick McCarthy, a man who returned Wolves to the dizzy heights of the Premier League and even more impressively kept them there.
In saying that, I can understand why Wolves got rid of Mick McCarthy, clubs will go to any lengths possible to avoid being relegated from the Premier League, survival is imperative. Every team in England (and some in Wales) want to play in the best league world football has to offer for a number of reasons; number one for the competition, number two for the prestige, thirdly, and maybe most importantly (for the suits anyway), for the financial rewards. Wolves number one priority is survival, but with no outstanding candiadate to replace McCarthy, should they have sacked him?
Mick McCarthy did a lot for Wolves; he arrived in the summer of 2006 and promised promotion to the Premier League within three seasons, delivering in his third season. This was a great personal achievement for Mick, but an even bigger achievement for a club that desperately wanted a return to the top table after only one brief affair with the Premier League since its creation.
I do agree that after watching Wolves struggle the past couple of seasons, Mick had probably taken Wolves as far as they could go…but in all honesty who can take them further? I like Wolves, great club behind the scenes and decent fans, but they are a club that does well just to be in the Premier League. For McCarthy to have got them to survive as long as they have is a monumental effort. Only a few weeks ago I fancied them to just avoid relegation again this season, but that was before McCarthy was disposed of.
I am a big fan of the morals of the club; Jez Moxey has been at Wolves for what seems like an age now and has seen a few managers come and go since his appointment in 2000. He said the club sacked Mick with a heavy heart, that they didn’t want him to go, but had to take the decision for the benefit of the club. I admired Moxey for coming out and saying that the process of talking to potential managers to replace Mick McCarthy didn’t not start until big Mick had been informed of his fate…he sacked McCarthy in the right and honourable way.
BIG mistake, as the club is now in a total mess in their search for a new manager.
Between Moxey and chairman Steve Morgan, a very public 3 man shortlist of potential managers was drawn up. The 3 men in the frame were former QPR boss Neil Warnock, ex-Sunderland gaffer Steve Bruce and Alan Curbishley who hasn’t managed a club in over 3 years after having his fingers burnt with West Ham. Let’s be honest, none of these guys were particularly inspiring candidates to take Wolves to that next level. More than that, the whole world new who was in the frame and when it goes wrong, as it has done, everyone knows about it.
The candidates were not that strong in the first place; Neil Warnock is a good Championship Manager and took he Leeds job which is probably a better fit than Wolves would have been. I can see the rationale when it comes to Curbishley being in contention. He is one manager that has been able to take a promoted Championship team to the next level with what he did at Charlton. Apaprently Curbishley rejected the chance to manage the club. And then there was Steve Bruce, who has also apparently turned down the chance to become the new Wolves manager. Probably good news for Wolves fans as Bruce was sacked from Wigan and Sunderland for exactly the same reason Mick McCarthy was sacked from Wolves.
Other names have been doing the rounds; Gus Poyet has publicly said Wolves asked Brighton for permission to speak with him, but access was denied by Brighton – this is a story denied by Wolves. Another name in the frame was Reading manager Brian McDermott, apparently Wolves were set to make an approach and then he signed a new deal with Reading’s new Russian owners…no surprise there, exciting project with the financial backing Reading now have. Even Cardiff manager Malky Mackay’s name has been mentioned, but he too signed a new deal with Cardiff.
Options are running low and there were some rumours of an interim management team of Wolves old boys Steve Bull and Paul Ince coming in. The latest to be linked was SPL royalty Sir Walter Smith. Yet again as quickly as the flames of the this rumour were fanned, they were once again extinguished, as Walter Smith became the latest manager to reject the chance of a return to management with Wolves.
Where Wolves go from here who knows, maybe try and convince Bruce or Curbishley. There is no doubt Moxey and Morgan are scratching their heads about who they can turn to now. Any appointment made from here on in will be a seventh or eighth choice, hardly the feel good factor you want when starting a new job. The team need to be united and ready to fight, one for all and all for one kind of stuff, more than that they need to be inspired-can a seventh-best appointment do that?
There is a certain irony or manager karma about this, which perhaps Wolves don’t deserve after morally going about things the right way. Regardless of whoever finally gets the gig at Wolves, let this be a lesson to all those directors who think about sacking a manager after January when threatened with relegation, don’t do it, you could end off worse than you were…well unless you have gone behind your managers back and lined someone up!
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