TTU Go Predicting: The Sack Race
The dismissal of Lee Clark from his last job inspired our then second most read post of all time and that he clings on for grim life at Birmingham City might seem incredible. To boot, he’s been allowed to completely overhaul the squad in a ferocious frenzy of downsizing.
But Birmingham International Holdings remain in charge of the second city club for the moment, with acting chairman Peter Pannu benefitting strongly from emoluments of various hues, providing therefore an illustration of the thinking behind the continuation of Clark’s sinecure.
A takeover is sorely needed at St Andrew’s and for now, replacing the manager is unlikely to be at the top of the board’s priorities – even one who gazed so memorably into the headlights when the Blues were beaten 5-0 by Barnsley last September.
But, you should never discount basket case clubs burning through managers and it would be no surprise to see Steven Pressley at Coventry or Gary Bowyer at Blackburn depart prematurely, especially given Venkys’ track record.
Elsewhere, in Harry Redknapp, QPR have a manager who seems resentful of even being there; still bitter that he is not instead preparing England for their final round of World Cup qualifiers in September and October. Despite a frankly abysmal attempt to keep QPR up last season, we still sense that he is reluctant to take responsibility for his players, and his threat to leave in June did not exactly inspire confidence.
Tony Fernandes has the aura of a man slightly out of his depth, and we can foresee him making a rash decision/Redknapp throwing his toys out of the pram if QPR don’t get off to a strong start. Throw the ego of Steve McLaren into the mix as an ambiguous ‘member of the backroom team’, and it’s hard not to imagine sparks flying at Loftus Road at some point this season.
Indeed, the Big Time Charlie fallen on hard times would always appear to provide the tightest odds in this admittedly tawdry category – see also Paul Ince, wonderfully determined at Macclesfield but promoted to the Premier League too quickly and now seemingly concerned with his son’s career over his own.
League Two too features many a boss with a lot to prove and a slow start could see chairmen wielding the axe early. Kevin Blackwell at Bury strikes us as quite vulnerable, especially as the Gigg Lane faithful don’t seem that keen on him and the Shakers have no money, while at the risk of enflaming Plymouth Argyle message board Pasoti still further, John Sheridan is vulnerable if Argyle get off to a slow start – Home Park won’t want to see another relegation battle. See also James Beattie and Phil Brown – both fresh in the hot seat but if either side starts slowly, we wouldn’t be surprised if respective chairmen panic unnecessarily.
One also fears for Nigel Pearson – he must be under a lot of pressure from ambitious owners after repeated failures, while Tony Mowbray‘s Middlesbrough will have to do better and Graham Alexander’s tenure at Fleetwood is tenuous.
Owen Coyle could be completely the wrong appointment for Wigan, though we suspect he’ll get until at least Christmas; MK Dons had a disappointing season, so Karl Robinson may well feel the heat sooner than he’d like and there was a lot of discontent at Oxford’s failure to make the play-offs again so Chris Wilder‘s position will also be under threat if they get off to a poor beginning.