Managers

Colin Todd left Bolton in farcical circumstances. Gary Parkinson untangles the story behind his decision to leave

The business equivalent of pride before a fall is the construction of a flash new HQ followed by financial disaster and bankruptcy. Building the Prem­iership-standard Reebok Stadium has brought Bolton Wan­derers into such financial peril that there is a grave danger of never getting near that division again.

Alex Ferguson has always let his political views be known, which is why Michael Crick is confused about the lack of it in  his book

It’s an interesting test. Just who in public life today could ring Downing Street at 7.30am and be put straight through to Tony Blair? Gordon Brown, Robin Cook or Jack Straw? Certainly. Rupert Murdoch? Un­doubtedly. Middle-ranking cabinet members like Ste­phen Byers and David Blunkett? Pretty marginal, I’d say. As for ministers like Chris Smith or Clare Short, they’d probably be fobbed off by the switchboard what­ever time of day it was.

Frank Clark talks to WSC about his new book, Kicked Into Touch, which charts the ups and downs of more than a decade in football management

You had some uncomfortable experiences as a manager. If you were a player now, would you still want to become a manager?
Yes, for two reasons. As a player I knew I wanted to stay in the game when I stopped because I loved being involved. I’d feel the same today. The other factor, of course, is the amount of money you can earn. There’s no question that the job has got much harder, for various reasons: Bosman, the sums of money involved, Sky. The spotlight has become that much more intense. The other side of the coin is that managers are being paid wages at least on a par with some of the players.

Following the sacking of Graeme Souness as Benfica boss, Phil Town explains why the Scotsman was doomed from the start

Graeme Souness, sacked last month by Ben­fica, had a rocky ride at the end of his season and a half with the club, but it was not always so. He had been a trump card in candidate João Vale e Azevedo’s campaign for election to the club presidency, and his name helped the Lis­bon lawyer sweep to power in late 1997.

Cris Freddi pays tribute to the inscrutable Sir Alf Ramsey, who died on April 28, 1999

There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of the reaction to Sir Alf Ramsey’s death, but it raises a point or two. Some of the football writers praising him today tried to bury him when he was England manager (“Ramsey’s Robots” they called his teams). The change wouldn’t have surprised Alf, who was always suspicious of them. He probably knew the passage of time would provide a sense of perspective. He was just piss­ed off it took so long.

Some people were just born to manage England, albeit with the right name and at the right time, says Harry Pearson

Walter, Alf, Don, Joe, Ron, Bobby, Graham, Terry, Glenn, Howard, Kev­in.When studying this list of of the forenames of England’s managers it quickly becomes apparent that since the mid-Seventies the FA have got things hopelessly wrong. The departure of Don Revie and the brief interregnum of Joe Mercer should clearly have been followed by a more modern sounding manager, one whose name reeked not of linament and toad-in-the-hole, but of frothy coffee and formica, a Tony, perhaps, an Alan or even a Brian. Instead the FA went backwards and opted for Ron Greenwood.

Martin O'Neill confounded the pundits and delighted Leicester fans by declining the chance to move to a bigger club. Stephen Wagg looks at how the voluble barrack-room lawyer came to hold Filbert Street in the palm of his hand

It’s October 19th 1998, on a chilly evening at Filbert Street. Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur are awaiting permission to kick off from BSkyB producers. “OK everyone, here comes Martin,” Leicester City PRO Alan Birchenall bellows into the microphone. The crowd stirs. “Now he doesn’t know I’m doing this,” thunders Birchenall, “but if you really want to keep Martin here at the club, SHOW HIM WHAT YOU THINK OF HIM!” Most of the 20,000 spectators jump to their feet and, amid a crescendo of noise, brandish “Don’t Go Martin” posters (issued by the local newspaper) above their heads.

Boyd Hilton tells us why the widespread opinion of the ex-Arsenal boss is wide of the mark

Anyone even vaguely interested in football thinks they know what George Graham stands for. So when Alan Sugar (allegedly vaguely interested in football) decides to bung George a few million, even he must have had a pretty good idea what he is going to get for his money. Sugar is investing in a pragmatic philosophy of winning at the expense of everything else. Success first, style second; the apparent opposite of the Spurs credo over the years.

Someone may have written a worse book than Glenn Hoddle's Diary but Harry Pearson won't believe it until he sees it

The Hoddle book. A betrayal of trust; a gross error of judgement; an action in which personal gain has been put ahead of the public interest. Yes, there’s no doubt about it, by charging £17.99 for 236 pages of this mind-numbing rubbish Andre Deutsch really have brought the English publishing game into disrepute.

Cris Freddi looks at how Glenn Hoddle's predecessors have coped with the press

The rough ride Glenn Hoddle’s been getting from the fourth estate isn’t unusual (every other England manager had it) but the timing of it is. Most of the others were granted the luxury of a honeymoon period.

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