Friday, November 30, 2007

Can you manage?

There have been a number of managerial changes in England and Scotland football/soccer over the last few months, and Soccerlens is wondering what's next.

There have already been a half-dozen managerial changes (four sackings, two ‘resignations’) in the first three months of the season, the highest-profile one being at Chelsea, where José Mourinho, now the prohibitive favorite to take over the England job, left the hot seat weeks into the season, giving way to Avram Grant. Since, Bolton, Tottenham, Wigan, Birmingham, and Derby have all seen managers go and come. Two moves have taken place in the last few days, as Birmingham just introduced Alex McLeish as their new manager, and Derby let go of Billy Davies (now likely in the running to replace McLeish as Scotland boss) and brought in former Wigan manager Paul Jewell just as quickly.

So, who’s next out the door, after Mourinho, Jol, Lee, Hutchings, Bruce, and Davies?

Soccerlens advances three candidates:

  1. Sam Allardyce, formerly of Bolton and currently with Newcastle.

  2. Gareth Southgate (a/k/a Kevin Nealon) of Middlesbrough.

  3. Rafael Benitez of Liverpool.
The question was then asked - which of these managers will be first to go? While various people guessed that Benitez or Southgate would be the first to go, I advanced another possible managerial change that wasn't on Soccerlens' list:

What are the bookmakers’ odds on Sir Alex Ferguson taking the Scotland job? Hey, ANYTHING can conceivably happen…

Well, I can't get to the English betting sites right now - MegaCorp's firewall blocks access - so I'm relying on a Times Online article (dated 27 November) for odds.

Next manager to leave: 6-4 Benitez, 7-4 Southgate, 7-1 Sanchez, Allardyce, 10-1 O’Neill, 12-1 Redknapp, Roy Keane, Bruce, 20-1 Coppell, 25-1 others.

Sir Alex Ferguson wasn't mentioned, but the rumor (whoops, rumour) mill has had him leaving in the past. This is from 2005:

Sir Alex Ferguson has described himself as 'embarrassed' by stories that he might leave Manchester United to manage Rangers, and insisted he will still be in charge at Old Trafford next season.

'I'm not going anywhere else,' he said. 'When I'm finished here I'm finished, but I don't know when that will be. Retiring is not on my agenda at the moment, although what you don't know about when you make plans for the future is your health.

'Right now I feel great, terrific, but obviously I'm not going to be here in 10 years. I don't think I'll be here in four years, but I'm making plans for next season all right."

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