Managers

After winning League One you would think that Mike Newell would be over the moon. As Neil Rose finds out, the Luton manager is still his old, dour self

It feels strange to come over all protective about your team’s manager, but that is how I feel about Mike Newell. Here is a decent and honest man who has found himself at the centre of a bewildering furore. Publicly he’s bullish and holding up well enough, but I would still like to give him a hug and tell him everything will be all right.

It’s war at the Britannia Stadium, after manager Johan Boskamp found his authority undermined from the stands by Stoke’s director of football. Andy Thorley reports

November 1, 2005 and Stoke City win a crucial game away at the Ricoh Arena. It might not seem the sort of match to begin a feud between the club’s managerial staff that is likely to see at least one of them leaving his job. However, this is the sort of thing that passes for normality at the Britannia Stadium.

Paul Gascoigne becoming manager of Kettring sounds like an April Fools joke or a publicity stunt, but, as Toby Skinner reports, the man behind the appointment means business

A month into Paul Gascoigne’s first spell as a manager, things are looking rosy at non-League Kettering Town. The team have been solid since Gazza took charge and have lost only once in the Conference North. The FA Cup defeat to Stevenage saw this century’s highest attendance at Rockingham Road – almost 4,500, compared to the usual 800 or so – and was followed by the slightly over-awed players receiving new boots and the team getting new balls.

Do English coaches deserve more credit? Not if Mathias Svensson is to be believed, as Marcus Christenson reports

Sven-Göran Eriksson has been in charge of England for four and a half years – and yet no consensus seems to have developed on whether the Football Association was right to appoint the Swede as its first foreign manager. So the debate rages on. This summer Bristol Rovers manager Ian Atkins, having just completed the FA’s UEFA Pro Licence course, claimed that English coaches and managers get “the best training in the world” and added: “I think people are over-critical of English coaches and that is wrong.”

Brian Clough didn't have a lot of time for drama. Al Needham wonders what old big 'ead would make of this one

“I hate the thought of football on stage – pointless shower scenes, folk explaining the offside rule and still nobody understands it, three actors waving some sodding scarf in the air and, most of all, slow-motion football like some wankers’ ballet in shorts”
Jimmy in Old Big ’Ead: The Spirit of the Man

Phil Town on Jose Mourinho's short-lived TV debut

“I’m the face of Portugal in the world,” José Mourinho told the current affairs magazine Visão recently. While footballing heroes such as Eusébio, Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo may still lay some claim to that distinction, it is hard from a global perspective to disagree with Mourinho’s assertion. London-based fashion designer Nuno Reis told Visão: “Suddenly, I’m not someone from a Third World country... I’m from the same country as José Mourinho.”

Has Peter Reid’s departure from Coventry spelt the end of his managerial career? The real puzzle, Andy Dawson argues, is how he has been allowed to work so long

Peter Reid is not a criminal. He has never boiled a child, nor has he masterminded an elaborate bog­us pyramid selling scheme. But if he had, it is unlikely that the resulting hurt would be comparable to the distress and anger his decisions and actions in the past decade or so have caused people. Well, maybe apart from if he was a child-boiler. His recent miserable reign at Coventry City, mercifully brought to an end by Monkey Heed himself, should ensure that he will never manage a football club again. Like the existence of a global al-Qaida network, the idea that Reid is a competent football manager is a myth.

Not all ex-Sunderland bosses are unemployable. Burnley fan Kevin Clarke looks at the amazing success of Steve Cotterill

Pundits often express disappointment at the lack of young English managers flourishing and the fact that top clubs appoint foreign coaches with the rest of the jobs swallowed up by the same old names. In Burnley, however, a quiet revolution is taking place, spearheaded by a man whose public stock was very low be­fore this season. Step forward Steve Cotterill.

The appointment of a big-name Argentine manager has created rare excitement at Oxford, though Martin Brodetsky is not sure that he will entirely enjoy the ride

It was arguably the most surprising managerial appointment of the season so far. Ramón Díaz has a CV that would put most Premiership managers’ to shame: five times Argentine champions with River Plate, plus a Copa Libertadores win thrown in, after a very impressive playing record. Indeed, one some­what spurious web site (www.world-coach.com) ranked him the third best coach in the world (after compatriot Carlos Bianchi and Louis van Gaal), so it’s no wonder that the football world raised its collective eyebrows when news broke of his appointment as Oxford manager on December 9.

For the second times in four years, Southampton have replaced a boss with no experience with a big noise. Tim Springett reports on some strange parallels

Unexpected as Harry Redknapp’s swift defection from Portsmouth to their nearest and bitterest rivals might have appeared, Southampton fans had a sense of déjà vu. The wheel began turning in the sum­mer of 2001 as Saints were moving into the St Mary’s Stadium, mortgaged up to the hilt and at risk of severe financial consequences if things were to go wrong on the field. Glenn Hoddle had deserted a few months earlier and a new manager was needed. What would have been on chairman Rupert Lowe’s mind at such a pivotal moment in the club’s history?

Sign up to the WSC Weekly Howl - a small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday