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Manager merry-go-round in England are verging on ridiculous


By Contributor

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Aston Villa’s parting of the ways with manager Dean Smith was the fifth English Premier League manager to lose their job since the season kicked off and that is already quite a ridiculous statistic.

Charlie Christie writes for the Inverness Courier every fortnight.
Charlie Christie writes for the Inverness Courier every fortnight.

It demonstrates the current day impatience of both owners and fans alike given that Smith has only been in the job for three years in which time he gained promotion from the Championship in his first season and got the club to the League Cup final in 2020.

It is true the team has, so far, not performed as well as last season which saw them finish in 11th spot although for much of that season it looked like a higher placing and potential European spot was on the cards.

The summer loss of Jack Grealish to Manchester City was an undoubted blow and the three players - Emiliano Buendia, Danny Ings and Leon Bailey funded by the Grealish sale have yet to justify their significant transfer fees but we are only 11 games into the season and surely Smith deserved more time to turn things around.

In the whole of last season, a total of four EPL managers lost their jobs and I would suggest that, whilst that figure has already been surpassed, we have not seen the last of the departures with Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer high on the list of those who must be concerned about how the campaign has gone so far.

I watched United being torn apart by Manchester City at Old Trafford and it was United’s fourth loss in 11 matches which saw them slip to sixth in the table just above Brighton on goal difference.

It is not only the losses that must be concerning for the Old Trafford hierarchy but the manner of them and that City defeat coupled by the 5-0 humiliation at home to Liverpool in October displayed just how far behind the power players United have slipped.

They have numerous players who have commanded colossal transfer fees but who are simply not justifying their valuations although the unstructured and difficult to define system currently being deployed by the coaching staff is certainly not helping.

This evening the Scottish national side will look to cement their place in the World Cup Qualifying play-off places by gaining a point or more in Moldova.

But, having been at our home game against the Moldovans in September, I know the match will be extremely challenging.

Steve Clarke has not been helped by the injury withdrawal of Grant Hanley and the one match suspensions to Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Christie.

But I would still hope that we would have too much for a team that has yet to win a match in Group F.

We may not even need that point depending on the Israel result in Austria later, but it would be nice

to do it on our own merit and make Monday’s final group match against Denmark at Hampden a relaxed and celebratory affair. Coincidentally, it is exactly one year to the day that we all enjoyed that amazing night when beating Serbia on penalties in Belgrade to qualify for the European Championships and let’s hope this is a good omen for another positive result and we can spend the weekend attempting to work out who might join us in that play-off draw next March.


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