It seems American owners of some of England’s premier football clubs have itchy trigger fingers when it comes to firing their managers (an excellent analogy borrowed from columnist Derek McGovern writing in today’s Daily Mirror).
For the benefit of my American friends I’m talking soccer here. With the season now officially closed – okay there’s a small matter of divisional play-offs and the European Champions League Final still to be played, not to mention the summer staging of the Euro Championship and Olympics football – nervous owners have reacted quickly to put their respective houses in order.
Yesterday, we had the Randy Lerner sacking of Alex McLeish at Aston Villa, followed today by John Henry and Tom Werner dispensing with the services of Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool. Is this coincidental or is columnist McGovern right when he says the kiss of death could be imminent of anyone having a name that ends in ish, like Scottish!
But hang on – surely the Glazer family who own Manchester United (as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) are not thinking of getting shot of the greatest footballing Scot of them all, Sir Alec Ferguson? Nah, it’s maybe a safer bet that over at Arsenal the manager is fearful of a transatlantic call from Stan Kroenke!
Football in England has reached manic levels. Every club believes it should be top dog, although of course only the truly rich set-ups like Manchester City, and to a lesser extent their ‘quiet’ neighbours, appear to have better than a snowflake’s chance of actually achieving the success craved by owners and fans.
For the rest who don’t make it into the elite of the top three or four, managers will continue to come and go, and envious glances will always be thrown upwards at those at the top. Fans will just have to grin and bear it, until the next Arab oil billionaire starts looking for a hobby.
Yet to be decided is the final make-up of the English quartet of clubs that will participate in next season’s lucrative European Champions League. It all hinges on the outcome of this year’s final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea. The maths are simple; if Chelsea win they get a repeat invitation to next year’s tourney. If they lose, their seat on the plane will be taken by Tottenham Hotspur.
I have just one thing to say – Come on Bayern!