Whilst stability is the best way to achieve success – that fact has escaped many a board of directors as they search for that elusive combination of promotion without financial ruin.
The fact that a club like Wigan can post a profit after sticking with their manager despite brushes with relegation in the past three seasons shows that you do not have to break the bank or swap bosses like you swop your underpants to achieve success.
Looking around the Premier and Football League there are several bosses who may find themselves with time on their hands if things don’t pick up.
Top amongst the list is Wolves boss Stale Solbakken. Reports in the Midlands suggest that defeat at high flying Crystal Palace on New Years’ Day might be the final straw for the Wolves Board. They had to endure former boss Mick McCarthy not only beating Wolves with his new Ipswich side, but receiving a heroes’ welcome from the home fans on Saturday.
Wolves have already lost two games on the spin at home and are languishing at the wrong end of the table.
It could be a black week in the Midlands as another boss – Paul Lambert is also hanging on by a thread. Villa has lost three on the spin- conceding 15 and scoring nil – a Premier League record you wouldn’t want on your CV.
Lambert doesn’t know whether to stick or twist. He has gone with youth, but the lack of experience in his squad is now coming back to haunt him. If he sticks with the current shell shocked troops he could well take Villa down. If he tries to turn things around by signing experienced players in the transfer window he is going against his own well publicised philosophy. He also lacks money with a reported budget of only £10 million to spend in January
In a hat-trick of possible changes in the Midlands, another boss whose stock has taken a nose dive is Lee Clarke. Ownership wrangles continue, but you can see a new regime bringing in their own man. Clarke has seen his Birmingham City side struggle to maintain any sort of consistency and they sit at the wrong end of the table.
The legal problems faced by the current owner who faces trial in Hong Kong in the New Year will make it hard for Clarke to strengthen his squad and a bottom half finish is not what the fans expected.
Success is relative – if you are Roberto Martinez keeping Wigan in the Premier League is a result – if you are Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool European Qualification is a must. After all, King Kenny got Liverpool to two Wembley finals last season winning the Carling (now CapitalOne) Cup and losing the FA Cup final to Chelsea. Not enough for Liverpool’s American owners- and failure again this term will mean Liverpool have been without the oxygen of Champions League football for five seasons.
The Reds face a tricky FA Cup tie at Mansfield and difficult League games against Man United and Arsenal in January could see Rodgers under scrutiny come the end of the month. A 3-0 hammering of hapless QPR is no indicator of better things to come. Without Luis Suarez, Liverpool have no real attacking options and that needs to be addressed if Rodgers is not to come under severe pressure.
Lower down the league Preston’s Graham Westley is coming under pressure from sections of the home support. The board must be worried about the drop in attendances and the style of football has not met with universal applause.
The loss of Graham Alexander from the back-room staff to manage Fleetwood was a blow in many peoples’ eyes. Preston has had six managers in the last seven seasons counting caretakers and for a club that boasted the likes of David Moyes, Craig Brown and Billy Davies in the past decade or so the current squad is a pale shadow of previous teams.JB