Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A riposte to the new manager effect

The five-way relegation battle at the foot of the Premier League is being fought by clubs with two distinct approaches to the situation. Queens Park Rangers and Wolverhampton Wanderers made swift decisions to change manager, whilst Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic have stuck with their men.

Wigan might be bottom, but it currently seems that the decision to stick or twist is favouring those who are holding their nerve in the poker game that is sack the manager. Wolves and QPR continue to flounder, although in truth it is only the Londoners who have really gone in search of the new manager effect.

Mark Hughes replaced Neil Warnock with all the ingredients of recovery seemingly in place. A successful topflight manager, money well-spent in the January transfer window and the faith of a board that was desperate to enforce change must have left Rangers fans expecting their club would pull away from trouble as Martin O'Neill's Sunderland have.

Instead they have managed to further lose form and with the toughest run-in of all look nearly as vulnerable as Wolves – who hoped for the new manager effect without planning properly for who it would be and have been mocked for replacing Mick McCarthy with his right-hand man, Terry Connor.

Owen Coyle and Roberto Martinez have benefitted from the faith of chairman who have done their sums for life in the Championship and believe their current managers to be the best long-term options, regardless of the outcome to this season. Those placing a Victor Chandler Bet need to bear this in mind.

Steve Kean represents a strange mix of blind faith and knee-jerk opposition and as his stewardship continues, Blackburn's owners and fans have little option but to further entrench themselves in the respective positions they took up so prematurely.

It seems the board and Kean might have the last laugh, as Warnock and McCarthy might if their old clubs continue to slide towards the Premier League trapdoor. The honeymoon period of having a new manager for a relegation fight can be short or even non-existent.

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