The Managerial Merry-Go-Round: Summer 2007 Edition

Back in January of this year, The Angle... detailed the concept of the Managerial Merry-Go-Round (the MMGR). A constantly rotating showcase of the game's most talented and enduring bosses, the MMGR serves the game (and, indeed, the media) with a reliable gauge of the available and unemployed, who proclaim themselves as "itching to get back into the game".

As the chairmen of the clubs in the lower reaches of the Premiership begin to wield their axes, a flurry of sackings, resignations and departures by mutual consent has ensued. The Angle... presents an updated MMGR:

  • David O'Leary: Remains a significant figure on the MMGR, after a near-apocalyptic end to his Leeds reign and an underwhelming spell at the talent black hole that is Villa Park. Concerns are growing, however, that Premiership chairmen may regard him as damaged goods.
  • George Graham: His future is now unclear. Setanta's capture of pay-per-view rights from next season means Graham's stint alongside Marcus Buckland on Premiership Plus is over. With the trend of Directors of Football now thankfully a distant memory, Graham faces a conundrum. Will we see the Godfather of the MMGR make a dramatic return, to show the new boys how it's done?
  • Glenn Roeder: The Angle's rather smug complacency regarding the modern game led us to include Roeder on the MMGR in January, even though he was then still Newcastle manager. Of course, he resigned at the beginning of this month and takes his place back on the MMGR. Arguably now the most prominent "active" manager on the MMGR, Roeder is preparing to look all serious, determined and rodent-like at another mediocre Premiership outfit in the near future.
  • Micky Adams: His desire to "get back into the game as soon as possible", after his sacking from Coventry in January, has proved fruitless. Earmarked as a possible long-term (and distinctly low-profile) rider of the MMGR, before he realises that he has to drop down the divisions to resurrect his career.
  • Claudio Ranieri: The most linked foreign manager on the MMGR - speculation around a possible future in England for the Italian is likely to be stirred again this summer. Until then, he will continue to lend a Continental flavour to the MMGR. Given the trigger-happy nature of Serie A club supremos, the fact that Ranieri is currently in employment (at Parma) actually means very little here.
  • Walter Smith: Seems settled at Rangers, but will inevitably be linked with the Scotland job before long. Yet again.
  • Stuart Pearce: Sacked by Manchester City yesterday, Pearce will now be forced to take his not-so-unique brand of technical area pantomime somewhere else. Despite being utterly found out at City, Pearce's stock remains unfathomably high, and he should only require the briefest of rides upon the MMGR before being unveiled by his next unfortunate employers.
  • Paul Jewell: Picked up his River Island leather jacket and left the JJB Stadium yesterday. May possibly only give the MMGR the merest glance on his way to be all small-time at his new club. But, still, save a space for him, would you?
  • Sam Allardyce: While his move to Newcastle seems done and dusted, no manager can be too comfortable with Freddy Shepherd's poisoned chalice. May require the service of the MMGR in the future.
  • Mark Wright: Simultaneously flying the flag for the lower leagues on the MMGR, whilst further proving the rule that former England internationals are well equipped to become spectacularly unsuccessful journeymanagers.
  • Chris Coleman: Will inevitably be involved in the summer speculation shake-up. Until then, Coleman will be busy practicing his trademark post-game march towards whichever referee he feels has cost his side three points.
  • Sven-Goran Eriksson: While Claudio Ranieri provides the exotic option for any vacancies at clubs in the midriff of the Premiership, Eriksson will be reported to be carrying his considerable media baggage to any number of top-half sides over the next year or so. To the backdrop of a collective and nationwide sigh of boredom.
Since January, several old-timers have begun to question the excitement of spending nigh-on a decade on the MMGR, and have clambered off in search of the candy-floss of a media career, the coconut shy of assistant management or the Big Dipper that is retirement:

Peter Reid - Now committing full-time to the only role in which an incoherent neanderthal can take the game less than seriously, and get paid for it - Gillette Soccer Saturday.

Les Reed -
Has effectively run and hid behind Lawrie Sanchez at Fulham, after a pathetically brief tenure as Charlton manager - which bestowed upon Reed the unenviable title of 2006/07 Comedy Caretaker.

Joe Royle -
Has found his niche alongside new wife John Helm on Five's football coverage.

Kenny Dalglish/Kevin Keegan/Jean Tigana/Dr Jozef Venglos -
all missing in (in)action.

A visit to the League Manager's Association website reveals a sort of transfer list for managers. This mammoth list of names who, once upon a time, managed a club for at least 24 hours and are now classed as "available managers", cannot be regarded as an equivalent of the MMGR. However, it does warrant some scrutiny. The following is a cross-section of the sort of aimlessly wandering ex-footballers and managers who are still purported to be jobhunting by their faithful union:

John Aldridge - No matter what he does in the future, Aldridge will still be known not for his admirable career goal haul, but for his 1994 World Cup sideline fit at a bemused official.

Alan Ball - Perhaps time for the LMA website to be given a spring clean...

Dave Bassett - Was always going to struggle to regain employment after the UEFA Pro Licence exam began to require a manager to be able to construct a complete sentence when on camera.

Tony Cottee -
For some reason or another, the only job Cottee looks suited for is as the manager of West Ham United Ladies.

Keith Curle - Will perhaps continue to rub chairmen up the wrong way at humble lower-league clubs, in a way only fellow ex-England international and hopeless manager Mark Wright could hope to emulate.

Glenn Hoddle - Should now accept that a media career, where he is still held up as some sort of "expert", is the most sensible option.

John Gorman - After a successful operation to remove himself from Hoddle's right-hand side, Gorman attempted to go it alone. May reappear in League One at some point, but no-one's bothered. May possibly be sat at home fuming at becoming increasingly referred to as "Glenn Hoddle's right-hand man, Dave Gorman".

Joe Kinnear - Your correspondent actually had to check whether or not Kinnear was still alive. Has seemingly retired from being linked strongly to any vacancy that arises at unfashionable clubs where the budget is, of course, a shoestring one.

Long live the Managerial Merry-Go-Round. Roll up, roll up...


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