Which Premier League manager will get fired first

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


I know enough's enough and you're leaving
You've had enough time to decide on your freedom
but I can still find some hope to believe in

Ipswich Town have announced the departure of Paul Jewell and a not a moment too soon if some of the message board postings are to be believed. His reign has seen no improvement with his win % narrowly lower than Roy Keane’s. Whilst Keane’s team drew too many matches by conceding late goals Jewell’s team has seen a continuation of his management form he showed at Derby and Sheffield Wednesday with neither the team or manager showing much drive or determination qualities which his predecessor had in abundance.

As their 3rd manager in 5 years leaves some serious consideration needs to be given not only to who the Ipswich board appoint but also to why as there needs to be some long-term strategy in place this time if they are not to tumble down the divisions. Bolton have solved their managerial problems by pinching Crystal Palace’s boss. As Blackburn start to do a Middlesbrough and slip down the championship after forcing the manager out when they are in the top 3 the Ipswich board could do worse than look at how Blackburn have operated recently and do the complete opposite.

There are 3 real strategies they can follow and they are a firefighter, old head or up and comer. Given they are in relegation trouble they could hire someone with a track record of keeping teams up but then what do you do after they have. Managers of this type rarely manage to drive their teams up the table and generally you get mid-table mediocrity at best.

An old head can be good but also stuck in their ways and unless they are proven at getting teams out of the Championship you again get mid-table mediocrity and there are high expectations at Ipswich born out of the Bobby Robson era that the club belong in the top flight not the second tier.

An up and coming manager could well be the answer but that is where the choices become difficult as some who have been successful in the lower reaches struggle as they move up the leagues with Paul Ince and Darren Ferguson being examples of where they have done well in Leagues 1 & 2 but struggled in the Championship (or Premier League in Ince’s case).

So who can they look to appoint? Here is my guide to the best runners and riders: -

Old Heads

Alan Curbishley
A great manager with a proven track record but hasn’t worked since 2008 and while he has a good tactical brain and motivational skills does he really still have the hunger to take on a new challenge. I think he finds the pundits sofa too comfortable and will stay there.

Mick McCarthy
Has proved that he can get teams to the Premier League although keeping them there has proved challenging. He has a lot of experience and is able to get players to adapt to the physical demands of the league. His main weakness is his less than media friendly voice and that his tactics can be a little bit one-dimensional. He is a strong contender though.

Phil Brown
Has had previous success keeping a team up and then winning promotion to the Premier League with Hull but this has been an isolated success with mediocre spells at Preston and Derby. Can be a good motivator but has also made high-profile mistakes such as his on-pitch team talk and singing of Sloop John B. Could do well but could just as easily do badly would be a risky choice for both clubs.
Ronnie Moore
A solid and experienced manager who has Tranmere moving in the right direction after struggling under Les Parry. He guided Rotherham to the Championship but has never managed above that level. Could be an excellent choice.

Up and Coming Managers

Paulo Di Canio
Has won promotion with Swindon Town and is an enthusiastic and energetic manager with the ability to motivate his players and a good tactical awareness. He is however a volatile character who is critical of players and board members who don’t share his vision for the club. Constantly linked with other clubs at the moment I don’t think his outspoken manner would go down well with the owner.

Michael Appleton
Has been doing a solid job with Portsmouth and it would be interesting to see how well he could do at a club who can sign players for longer than a month at a time. Operating under serious financial and operational constraints at Pompey. Ipswich and Palace could do well to appoint him.

Steve Davis
Won promotion with Crewe last season but there is a question over whether it his team or Dario Gradi’s that he won that with. Has a conveyor belt of youth due to Gradi’s excellent academy set up but is unproven at dealing with experienced professionals. Had a good management spell at Nantwich Town but Crewe is his first major management role. Would be a big risk not just for Ipswich but for him as the set up at Crewe means he gets a lot of support from Gradi.

Owen Coyle
Notable for his success at Burnley he has proved anything but that at Bolton Wanderers leading them to replace him with Crystal Palace’s Dougie Freedman. His early career at Falkirk and St Johnstone was positive but he has not done anything to indicate that he can handle the demands of a high-profile club with a demanding fan-base and whilst regarded as being tactically innovative he may struggle to replicate the success he had at Burnley which could well be his next destination.

Some assistant managers at other clubs such as Graeme Jones, Billy McKinlay and Tim Sherwood could prove interesting but risky choices as a replacement but are well regarded coaches and would at least bring something newer than the usual merry-go-round of failure. The Ipswich Town job is in my opinion one that managers should be queuing up to apply for as it is a well-run club, financially stable with a strong regional fan base and if Alan Shearer decides to give up the MOTD settee would be a better option than Blackburn Rovers.

Mick McCarthy is probably the best choice of them all but Appleton or Shearer could be good options but I expect either McCarthy or Owen Coyle to be appointed when the dust settles.