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Friday, 12 June 2015

Championship Chopping and Changing

8-9 months ago I moved to Sheffield due to work and my fiancé both being located there. Due to the end of Sheffield I live and her family I live in the North side. The Wednesday side. As a consequence I have become extremely aware of what’s happening at Hillsborough and all that it entails and up till yesterday I used to take great pleasure in mocking them (till they finished above us this season) but now I see a dangerous parallel.

They got taken over by foreign owners. Instead of Kuwaiti Fridge Magnates, they got Thai Tuna Farmers. Up till now they have largely behaved, but they just acted to remove a manager 6 weeks after the season that the majority of fans were happy with in pursuit of a bigger name to entrust the cash on to. Now some have said maybe it needed to be done to move on to the next step, but at least give the guy a go.

It leads me to think it’s been 3 seasons under Fawaz, and as much as I support all his efforts, and that the squads been improved, it’s been 3 years of gradual lower league positions. And it’s because being in constant transition never works. The guy never gets given a go, usually, and when he was, Pearce was given 2-3 months longer than a similar performing boss would, he failed.

The thing is, with both Davies and Pearce dismissals they felt the right decision. O’Driscolls left a very bad taste in the mouth. We won’t mention the extremely ill-fated McLeish experiment. But each time we switched boss the team has gradually disintegrated.

Now we have started well often and tailed off. The end of season always feels like the drawn out start to the next season. The last two seasons have largely ended by early spring with us going through the motions. Caretaker bosses or new managers with a brief of just preparing for next season. There is no planning for further afield, everything is so ‘instant.’

Often we have left the end of season as a yawning chasm. Players with nothing really to play for, and not sure which boss they are showing their talents too. Is that really going to motivate a player to succeed? The idea that this boss might well be out by January or February with a listless end of the season as a new guy tries to implement new ideas. It’s no wonder we always feel disjointed as there’s a key discord.

There is united front, because the manager is usually trying new ideas in first few months, or getting desperate to save his job. There’s a happy medium in the middle that is all too brief. Watford aside, clubs who give managers a couple of years succeed at this level. Or go close. Those who chop and change with the changing of the winds fall by the wayside.
On the other hand there’s a new competition in the crazy foreign owner gang in the Championship. The media have had their fill of Tan at Cardiff, the Venkys at Blackburn and Fawaz at Forest. Even Cellino may become old news if Wednesday fulfils the promise of what looks like another example.
The Championship is becoming as bad as the top flight for foreign ownership. With foreign investment in a large number of clubs now as investors seek to get clubs promoted to milk that TV money cash cow.

Think of it.

Forest – Kuwait, Leeds – Italy, Cardiff – Malaysia, Birmingham – Hong Kong, Reading – Thailand, Blackburn – India, Wednesday – Thailand, QPR – Malaysia, Hull – Egypt, Charlton – Belgium, Fulham – USA,  Derby – USA,

Even the clubs gone – Bournemouth are Russian funded, Watford – Italians, even Millwall and Blackpool have foreign investment. It’s increasingly become a reservoir of foreign owners desperate for premiership cash so manager turnover will just increase and increase.

It’s a sad statement of our times but that pressure to succeed will increase with heightened TV money. And these dismissals of non-glossy but adequate managers will increase in turn for chasing “names.”


Some call it progress.

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