Coyle, Jones and Flitcroft join the sack race

Coyle, Jones and Flitcroft join the sack race

owen coyle shortsWith Santa still preparing his sack, football chairman up and down the country have delivered theirs.

Dave Whelan removed Owen Coyle from office at Wigan following a run of defeats. That phrase “mutual consent” was employed, but we all know what that means.

Whelan had been lucky. For so many years he had enjoyed having Roberto Martinez as manager of Wigan. That all changed when Everton came calling for Martinez.

Relegated to the Championship, Whelan sought a new man. For reasons lost on me, he employed Owen Coyle. That was last summer. After a decent start, Wigan have been in freefall of late. Coyle won seven of the twenty three games in which he managed Wigan.

A confrontation between Coyle and Whelan took place following the home defeat against Derby, the fourth defeat in the last five games.

Whelan said: “I had a meeting with him after the match and I told him I was disappointed in his performance, the performance of the team and I was disappointed in the team selection. Owen asked did I want him to resign? I said ‘yes’ – I accepted it and he’s resigned.”

Well that’s that then!

It never ceases to amaze me why managers such as Owen Coyle are in demand. The man must walk around his house in his shorts showing off those finely crafted legs of his. He seems keen to display them at football matches, whatever the weather.

Whelan will be seeking a man motivator and could do worse than trying to make Ian Holloway fall in love with the game once more. Holloway is 5/2 with the bookies. Or Whelan could use his vast wealth to employ a man who has not managed in his own right as yet. Mike Phelan was assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and Phelan is the bookies favourite (10/11) to take charge at Wigan. He will be neither a cheap or proven option, but Whelan has the money required.

Dave Whelan wants his Wigan back in the Premier League pronto. But, it seems to me, the choice of managerial material these days is not great.

The same problem now faces a man who has parted company with more managers than I’ve had hot pies at football grounds.

Dave Jones sacked by Milan Manadaric

Dave Jones and Milan Mandaric part company

Milan Mandaric had been hoping to sell on Sheffield Wednesday with the club back in the Premier League. Or, at the very least, in a good position in the Championship. As things stand they could be returning to League One.

After much delay – possibly a costly delay – he has sacked Dave Jones as manager. Wednesday were lucky to get Jones to Hillsborough and he did secure them promotion to the Championship. But results since have been poor. Jones had made signings on loan most of which failed to deliver the goods and his long held insistence on playing one man up front, including at home, did not endear him to Owls fans.

Of late, Jones had begun to play with two strikers, but to no avail. I saw Sheffield Wednesday play Huddersfield Town in late November and they were, frankly, appalling. The first half display was the worst I had seen from a Sheffield Wednesday side since the late 19070’s.

Mandaric avoided sacking Jones because he did not want to have to pay off yet another manager and his support staff. But the subsequent defeat at Blackpool was the last straw. Too many Wednesday players display a lack of passion, interest in the job at hand or basic skills.

Sheffield Wednesday need a man motivator to take over. Mandaric says someone will be in place by the weekend. Rumours abound that he may give the job to former Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock, at least until the end of the season.

That would not go down well with the majority of Wednesdayites.

Warnock – a Blades fan born and bred – was once asked what he would do if he was offered the Wednesday job. He said: “As long as the whole of my salary was paid within 28 days I’d buy so many tosspots and fuck ’em up so badly. Then I’d retire to Cornwall and then I’d spend the rest of my life laughing my fucking head off.”

He once told me something similar when we worked together at Sky Sports. Not for a moment did I think Neil was jesting. Even with that twinkle in his eye. In my opinion Neil Warnock really does hate Sheffield Wednesday.

So that would be an interesting appointment!

On October 30th (the time when I thought Jones would be sacked) I had a bet on three men to get the job at Sheffield Wednesday. Alec McCleish at 16/1, Ian Holloway at 33/1 (hopeful more than confident as he is one of several managers Mandaric has parted company with in the past) and I took the odds of 250/1 against former Wednesday player Nigel Worthington. The last named has worked as caretaker boss for Mandaric in the past and saved Leicester City from relegation that season.

The new man, whoever he is, has his work cut out to keep the Owls flying in the Championship.

danny wilson serious And, down the road at Barnsley, a new manager will face the same problem. David Flitcroft was sacked by the Tykes after the team lost 3-0 at home against fellow strugglers, Birmingham City.

Like Jones at Sheffield Wednesday, Flitcroft had been a hero among the fans in the early stages of management, when he took over from Keith Hill. Flitcroft kept Barnsley up last season but they face another relegation battle between now and May.

Danny Wilson (pictured above) would be welcomed back by most fans. He was manager when Barnsley spent one season in the Premier League and Wilson is the bookies odds on favourite to return to Oakwell.

The January on loan transfer window is not far away and it will be the managers who do the best business that month who will keep their new teams safe from relegation.

Coyle, Jones and Flitcroft will not be the last managers to be sacked this season.

It’s just a pity footballers cannot be sacked as readily.


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