Last year at about this time instead of doing a mid year review of how each team had done, I decided to place each Premier League team into one pot and each manager into the other. With the help of my two
daughters we FA Cup style drew each team and manager in turn to see who would swap to manage who and how they may fare:-
Brian McDermottThe jury seems to be out a little on McDermott. Is he a young, up and coming manager who with a team such as Arsenal could push onto the next level? Or, as some suspect, has he got a lucky promotion and is now being found out? Arsenal fans hope that it’s the former; they seem to have lost their way under Arsene Wenger and maybe a bit of youthful invigoration is what they need. Personally though I can’t see McDermott ending the Gunners drought.
Martin O’NeillA homecoming of sorts for the Ulsterman who returns to the club he managed previously and after the disasters of Gerard Houllier and Alex McLeish, I’m sure the Villa fans would take him back in an instant. Even if there have been positive signs under Paul Lambert, O’Neill would get the best out of those youngsters, maybe even bring Darren Bent back from the wilderness and pull Aston Villa away from the jaws of relegation
Tony PulisAn old school disciplinarian manager meets overpaid, pampered, Machiavellian superstars, what could possibly go wrong? Chelsea need change, but whether that is evolution or revolution is a matter for debate,
but I can’t see this lasting. Within weeks he’ll have fallen out with the owner, who will have the usual delegation of unhappy players coming to him complaining about the managers attitude and Pulis, like others
before him, will be out on his ear. I can’t see Pulis taking kindly to Roman Abramovich wanting a say in matters like team selection too. One thing is for sure, it will be fun to watch
Roberto MartinezA good move for both Martinez and Everton. Martinez moves to a bigger club with a chairman as equally supportive as Dave Whelan at Wigan, but he also moves to a club with greater status, higher up the table and
could possibly compete for both trophies and European places. Everton fans in return will get a highly intelligent and gifted manager who likes to play attractive, free flowing football. I think this could be the start of something good for both parties
Sam AllardyceI think that there is something of a myth around big Sam. He’s seen as a manager who can only play a certain way, yet this is the man who has signed Youri Djorkaeff, Jay-Jay Okocha and Hidetoshi Nakata, so elegance is no stranger to him. Good news then as he finds himself managing two of the leagues most mercurial players in Brian Ruiz and Dimitar Berbatov. I think Allardyce would shore up the Fulham defence and turn around their rotten away form and push them up top a European place by the end of the season and after that, who knows?
Andre Villas BoasPersonally I would have liked to have seen this appointment made for real last summer. I do like Brendan Rodgers, but I feel that AVB is a complete football nerd and knows everything about every tactic and player possible. I feel he has learnt a lot about managing people from his time as Chelsea manager and that he would get the best out of this Liverpool team. Other than Fergie, I think this is the manager I would want to invite round my house for dinner the most; he’s a walking football Wikipedia.
Rafael BenitezGiving Rafa an unlimited budget is rather akin to giving a boy the keys to the local sweet shop. At least he’ll finally get to manage Gareth Barry whom he tried to sign by selling Xabi Alonso first. Will Rafa have learnt
from his mistakes before when he managed Liverpool annoyingly close to winning the league, or will he find the dressing room full of personalities at City too hot to handle?
Paul LambertAn ambitious yet somewhat terse Scot, with obvious talent being appointed to the biggest position in English club football, where have we seen that before? Lambert is highly regarded within the game and is a man of obvious talent and intelligence, so this seems to some extent to be a natural appointment. It will be interesting to see what he could do with better players and an increased budget than what he is used to. I think that this could be one of the changes that would work incredibly well.
Roberto ManciniA manager of obvious talent, he has won the league both here and in Italy as well as cup competitions, but to some extent people seem to be undecided upon the fiery Italian. I believe that this will be good for Newcastle; they will have one of the most high profile managers in Europe to be able to bring the best out of their star players. He may have even been able to have tempted Demba Ba to stay on Tyneside too.
Steve ClarkeContinuing with their policy of employing young and hungry managers, Steve Clarke will be the new Norwich Manager. His reputation had taken a slight battering after his ill fated appointments as assistants at West Ham
and Liverpool, but his renaissance began with his positive performances at West Bromwich Albion. Currently riding high in the league and possibly punching above their weight somewhat, Norwich fans will be hoping that he repeats his managerial feats and finish further up the league and maybe push for a European place
Queens Park Rangers:
Chris HughtonMaybe the hot potato that everyone wanted to avoid, so it comes to Hughton to take a tentative seat in the most volatile position of all. QPR don’t have the worst squad of players, they maybe have the poorest
attitude and the results have shown this. Hughton has done well at smaller clubs and is highly regarded; maybe he can carry on Harry’s turnaround and see the job of Premier League safety through
Alan PardewBack to where it all started for Pardew, who goes back to a club where he left in very dubious circumstances. On the pitch though he steered Reading to a promotion and a play off place in his first stint as manger. They do say never go back though and as his stock appears to be on the wane, he may not have what it takes to keep Reading afloat in the division
Brendan RodgersRodgers appears still to be an enigma. There are those that see him as a progressive thinker within the game who has a philosophy about playing football the right way. There are also those who believe him to be have
capitalised on the foundations laid by Roberto Martinez when managing Swansea and is what David Brent were to be if he managed a football team. Southampton fans had better hope it’s the former as they really
need to fight their way out of trouble and whilst playing the right way is admirable, is it the right way to do it?
Michael LaudrupStoke fans will be astonished to discover with Laudrup in charge that a ball can actually be passed on that green stuff which appears in the middle of the stadium. Doctor’s surgeries in Stoke will become less busy
as fans don’t have to spend their footballing lives craning their necks watching a ball fly through the night sky. Stoke have survived well thus far under Pulis and it will be interesting to see how their players can adapt
to a totally different style of play, I can see them struggling.
Arsene WengerArsenal are finally put out of their misery as Wenger moves to a club which will test his capabilities. Having been accused of not being able to beat teams on a wet night oop north, Wenger now gets to put that theory
to the test every week. As well as that, Mr Thrifty Wenger meets a like minded chairman in Ellis Short who is also averse to splashing the cash. Coupling that with having Lee Cattermole playing a short passing style of
football, it will be interesting whether this whole project crashes and burns or if Steven Fletcher could finally be the fox in the box Wenger has been yearning for all these years
Harry RedknappHaving to manage a team outside of both the south coast and the M25 could upset Harry’s delicate equilibrium. There is no second season syndrome for Swansea as they build on last years successful first season in the Premier League. They play in a very attractive style and have a frontman in Michu who cannot stop scoring. I can see there being a pretty smooth transition from Laudrup to Redknapp and Swansea could still push further if Harry manages to sign some “top, top players” who can “run around a lot”
David MoyesThis is just reward for a brilliant manager who has worked on a shoestring for far too long. At Spurs, Moyes will have the financial backing which will mean he can buy the players which can match his ambitions. I can see Tottenham finally reaching that fourth place and next year push on for even greater things. A real coup for Tottenham.
West Bromwich Albion:
Sir Alex FergusonThe Baggies get the man that everyone wanted. Having been a yo-yo team for far too long, West Brom finally appear to be achieving some stability and with Ferguson at the helm he can utilise the current crop as well as attract others to help their cause. It should not be forgotten that Fergie got to United the hard way, through plying his trade through various less fashionable Scottish clubs and winning trophies for Aberdeen. He isn’t everyone’s favourite manager, but then who wouldn’t want him managing them?
West Ham United:
Martin JolJol moves from one side of London to the other and to be honest he might not be too happy about it! With Fulham he is attracting the kind of players he wants to play his way and with West Ham although he will keep them safe, will he have the players at his disposal that he wants?
Nigel AdkinsA good appointment this for both sides. Adkins teams up with a chairman in the form of Dave Whelan, who although outspoken, has consistently backed his manager (Chris Hutchings apart maybe). He’s always been
keen to take a punt on a young, up and coming manager and Adkins is just that man. He has won two successive promotions with Southampton as well as keep Scunthorpe as stable as could be hoped with the resources he had at his disposal. With Adkins being backed by his chairman, Wigan can invest in this transfer window and reach safety before the last few frantic weeks of the season.
So there you have it, how did your team do? Are you happy with whom your team has gained, sad to have lost your current manager, or gawping in horror at the possibility of what could be? Many football fans complain, every week on 606 there’s some deluded fool thinking Fergie should gracefully retire or that their own manager was sacked too soon. But in football, be careful what you wish for, as you might just very well end up getting it!