Monday 24 November ~
Blackburn Rovers have now gone eight games without a win and lie second bottom of the Premier League. Yet Paul Ince seems to be taking out his frustration on a number of peripheral figures. During half time in yesterday's defeat at White Hart Lane Ince reportedly squared up to Spurs coach Joe Jordan, who according to Ince was talking to referee Howard Webb, trying to get Andre Ooijer sent off. Ince has also accused Ray Wilkins of coming out with “garbage” and was reportedly upset that his goalkeeper Paul Robinson played no part in England's friendly with Germany last week. Ranting and raving is one way to reduce pressure on a team and their results, but Paul Ince is not the only manager to have experienced difficulties in recent weeks.
Another club like Blackburn – still in League Cup but faltering in the league – removed their manager by “mutual consent” three weeks ago and have this morning appointed a replacement. Watford have given 35-year-old Chelsea reserve team coach Brendan Rodgers his first managerial job at first team level. Rodgers will be aided by current caretaker boss Malky Mackay and “football consultant” Frank Lampard Snr will also join the club. Giving a young and highly regarded coach his first manager's job is a similar situation to when they appointed Aidy Boothroyd in 2005 – a much more progressive recruitment technique than simply plumping for the nearest unemployed second tier manager.
Boothroyd himself has been strongly linked with the club one position below his former employers. With only one win in 12 matches, a managerial upheaval had long been on the cards at Charlton; on Saturday Alan Pardew was finally sacked after a humiliating 5-2 at home to to Sheffield United. One potential reason for club's patience with the former West Ham manager was suggested this morning – Pardew's contract stipulates than £1 million of his £1.6m pay-off must be paid within 12 days. Former Charlton boss Alan Curbishley is the bookmakers' favourite for the job but this morning seemed to indicate he'd prefer to return to management in the Premier League. So Boothroyd may enjoy a quick return to the Championship relegation battle.
Two places further down at the bottom of the Championship, Nottingham Forest's four game unbeaten run came to an end at home to a ten-man Norwich. Though Gary Doherty was sent off for a professional foul Norwich goalkeeper David Marshall was in excellent form before Forest's Chris Cohen scored a 73rd-minute own goal. Colin Calderwood conceded that his side “underperformed” but does not seem to be panicking yet and maintained that his side are “capable of safety”. However, now six points adrift of that safety Forest fans are worried “not as much about the size of the dog in a fight, as the size of the fight in the dog”.