Monday 2 June ~
Two English clubs that play in blue and are owned by controversial foreign billionaires are both looking for a new manager. Thaksin at Man City and Roman at Chelsea exercised their absolute power recently, sacking managers who had given both clubs relatively successful seasons but not in keeping with higher boardroom expectations. Time is now pressing – both clubs are expected to implement huge clear-outs and recruitment of playing staff over the summer. But unless, and it seems unlikely, Sven-Goran Eriksson takes the vacant Chelsea post it will be a farewell to English football for the Swedish manager who took the England job over seven years ago.
It has been some time in coming but after a promotional trip to south-east Asia, City's change of manager was officially confirmed today. Eriksson has left Man City but is expected to receive a £1 million pay-off and is thought to be considering an offer from the Mexican FA to coach their national side to 2010 World Cup qualification.
Thaksin and his advisers took several weeks to sack Eriksson but events have now moved quickly and Blackburn have given “reluctant” permission for Man City to speak to their manager. Mark Hughes has done well with Wales, established Blackburn in the top-half of the Premier League and shown considerable acumen in the transfer market. So Thaksin would be right to be “thrilled” at the prospect of Hughes as City manager. The idea has been welcomed in the papers too. One wonders if Hughes is equally excited at the prospect of working with Thaksin, but the Welshman would have a lot of money to spend at City and of course, that European place, gained through the Fair Play League.
Hughes was also a name in Chelsea's managerial catalogue – the term “short-list” would be a misnomer. But, as we pointed out last week, there are a number of factions and rival power-bases at Stamford Bridge that are hoping to influence Roman Abramovich's ultimate decision. Peter Kenyon is understood to be a supporter of a Hughes appointment but it seems that the main man at Chelsea would prefer Luiz Felipe Scolari. As soon as this is all sorted out the frantic buying will begin.