Managers

How you react to José Mourinho seems to depend on your nationality. Andy Brassell witnessed his return to Chelsea

It could have easily been HMV Oxford St waiting for JLS to do a personal appearance were you to substitute the sweating hacks present for screaming teenage girls. Taking a seat a full half hour before the Special One deigns to honour us with his presence, the clammy press conference room at Stamford Bridge is already packed and abuzz with gossiping whisper. Just along the row an English and Italian journalist almost come to blows (Italian: “I’m sorry, my friend is sitting there.” Englishman: “I don’t see anyone sitting there. Do you even understand English?”).

Tony Mowbray promised attacking football but lasted only nine months at Celtic Park. Neil Forsyth looks at what went wrong

The car park outside Celtic Park is an influential stretch of concrete. Prominent new arrivals, such as Robbie Keane, are sent out there to receive adoration, while protests in the car park have been synonymous with much of Celtic’s recent history. They brought down the board in 1994, before Fergus McCann arrived to build a new Parkhead and start the process of correcting the club’s finances.

When Keith Alexander passed away on March 3, 2010, football lost one of its nice guys. Rob Bradley pays tribute to a true gentleman of the game

From 2000 to 2005 I was chair of Lincoln City Supporters Trust and chairman of the club. For three of those years Keith Alexander was our manager and I got to know him well. Keith liked his sayings. We liked them too. They lifted us when the finances were bad or when we were worried about the results. “We’ll be there or thereabouts,” was his favourite. And our favourite too because it reassured us when the going had got tough. Or had got even tougher.

With Ipswich hoping to rename a stand in tribute to Bobby Robson, Csaba Abrahall assesses the former manager's impact

Planning permission permitting, when Ipswich meet Newcastle at the end of September, Portman Road’s North Stand will be renamed in honour of Sir Bobby Robson, who died in July after a battle against cancer lasting almost two decades. It promises to be a day of celebration of the career of a man who managed both clubs with distinction.

In his new book The Manager, Barney Ronay looks back to the early 1990s and hears from Graham Taylor what life was like for him and his family -  hounded by the media and victims of an angrey new mood of public "disappointment"

Graham Taylor was England manager from 1990 to 1993. He took England to one tournament and narrowly missed out on another. Still, the defining images of his reign are all variations on the theme of excruciating failure. Taylor was not a showman, a big personality or a silk hat impresario, yet he remains one of the most famous of all England managers. Perhaps this is because his appearance coincided with the England manager, whoever the England manager might have been, becoming wider public property for the first time, in the same way the actor playing James Bond is, or the host of the Radio One breakfast show or the Minister for Pensions. And make no mistake Taylor was huge in his time.

With Middlesbrough struggling to survive the drop Steve Wilson asks why the chances of Hope Powell succeeding are so slim

As Middlesbrough’s steady slide towards relegation fast approaches a vertical drop into the Championship, questions are inevitably resurfacing over the wisdom of employing Gareth Southgate as the club’s manager in his first job in the dugout.

Cameron Carter digests the latest verbal jousts between Rafa and Alex and co and detects more childish bickering than cunning mind-games

A significant proportion of advertisements these days, particularly the daytime ones, depict attractive, long-suffering women coping with a man who, though apparently the husband, could also be her idiot child. This is so that the female consumers being targeted can laugh knowingly to themselves about how childlike men are before nipping out to spend good money on Buttercup Eyelid Cleanser and dog insurance.

As national manager Guus Hiddink takes charge at Chelsea, Dan Brennan reflects on worries in Russia over what is said to be only a temporary job-share

If Guus Hiddink turns Chelsea’s season around, don’t expect too many loud cheers in Russia. The Dutchman’s decision to combine his permanent job as Russian national team coach with a makeshift one at Stamford Bridge has been met with what might best be described as resigned dismay.

Gordon Strachan has always been popular with the English press but all is rather less cordial in Scotland, as Neil Forsyth reports

When Celtic’s talented midfielder Aiden McGeady turned on ­Gordon Strachan after a draw with Hearts in December, it is unlikely that his manager would have seen much immediate benefit in the one-man mutiny. McGeady reportedly reacted to Strachan’s criticism with a tirade that shocked the rest of the team, and shocked one enough for the story to be quickly leaked to the press. 

Paul Jewell has always been popular with the football media. Derby fans are not so keen on him, as Richard Barker explains

Last Christmas, Derby County manager Paul Jewell told the Sunday Times that while Harry Redknapp would be his choice as the next England manager, Jewell personally “would never take it; too many blazers, too much politics”. Following his heroic attempts to keep Derby up (played 24; won 0; drew 5; lost 19; for 15; against 56), the thought of Jewell ever being in a position to turn down England is risible. A year after announcing that the national job wasn’t for him, Jewell scuttled out of Pride Park with Derby fans contemplating another relegation battle. So much for his promise: “The pain we are suffering now, I will repay next year with promotion.” He arrived pledging: “I am not here to raise the white flag.” Yet after presiding over the most humiliating season in Premier League history, he also threw in the towel after a rotten ­performance in the Championship.

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