13 October 2009 ~ Ian McParland apparently told local reporters last week that he might not reach his second anniversary in charge at Notts County – and he was sacked yesterday, four days short of this milestone. There was an instructive episode in the early days of the new regime at County when a Swedish TV crew arrived at Meadow Lane to be greeted by McParland, demanding to know what they were doing there without his permission. They explained that they had arranged to interview Sven-Goran Eriksson and the appointment had been confirmed with the director of football himself. McParland stormed off without further comment.
As County executive chairman Peter Trembling stated yesterday: "It is an inescapable fact that the hopes and ambitions of the football club have been totally transformed in the past few months." The removal of McParland is thus hardly a shock despite County being only four points off the top of League Two. Sunday's home draw against 23rd-placed Torquay provoked booing from the crowd – the perfect justification for County's controversial owners, still under investigation by the Football League, to purge a remnant of a previous era.
Speaking about McParland's successor, Trembling was keen to reassure: "Appointing a new football manager is arguably one of the single most important decisions that a football club can take, regardless of whether they are in the Premier League or in non-League football... Our next appointment is going to be extremely vital to the project we are endevouring to deliver here... As we would all expect, our director of football Sven-Goran Eriksson will be responsible for this appointment."
So we know that the new manager will be linked in some way to the gregarious Swede, something that doesn't narrow the field that much. The biggest name to be linked this morning was Roberto Mancini, who played under Eriksson at Lazio and according to the Mirror is about to be offered a deal that would pay him more in a week than McParland earned in a year. Mancini's agent has denied this rather candidly: "Maybe people have put together Roberto and Notts County because he is good friends with Sven. But you have to remember Roberto has managed Inter Milan." Mancini has made debatable claims about other job offers, however, telling Sky Italia in May that he was "honoured to have had an offer from Sunderland football club. It will be truly wonderful to lead such a prestigious and historic club in England after a year of sitting on the sidelines." This claim was strenuously denied by a Sunderland spokesman.
Another name to be strongly linked is Eriksson's former player at Sampdoria David Platt. Since leaving the England Under-21 coach position after failing to qualify for the 2004 European Championship, Platt has been busy with media work and in designing his own coaching course. Happy to explain the development of this programme at length he is also keen to set minds at ease: "I am in no way looking to make the people who undertake it think and do things like me."
Platt has already spent two seasons as a manager in Nottingham of course, with Forest between 1999 and 2001. He spent over £12 million with little success, and some are of the opinion that the resultant financial insecurity contributed to relegation to League One in 2005. According to the Times, Platt has stated it would be "politically difficult" to return to Nottingham. But if he gets similar results at Meadow Lane, Forest fans may start to warm to him after all.