And at last, he falls.
Ole Solsjkaer is gone from the Manchester United dugout, an aberration so stark that you wonder how their board could have let it go on this long. From almost the minute he got the job on a “permanent” basis it was certain to end in disaster.
Manchester United will now go out and find an actual manager.
A few of the better candidates have already slipped through their fingers.
Rodgers, to me, seems like the outstanding choice. If they approach him he’ll go and they won’t look back. Strip aside his time at Anfield. That kind of thinking is for the birds. If they want success, he’ll deliver it.
Solskjaer was hired for sentimental reasons, a throwback to their last successful era.
This is not a new idea.
Other clubs have made the same move, and over and over again it turns into a disaster. Barcelona are the latest to try to recapture past glories by hiring a familiar figure. Will Xavi be able to turn them around?
I think the odds are against it.
Celtic has done this, of course, and more than once.
The Lennon appointment is only the most recent, and grotesque, manifestation of it.
In fact, it used to be our standard thing. We didn’t hire anything but ex-players. Who was the first exception? Brady? Jansen was the first to win something. Now it’s pretty rare.
I’d like to say we’ve learned something but of course this board might not have.
It isn’t always a bad thing to hire an ex-player.
But doing it for reasons that have more to do with an appeal to sentiment than because it’s the best move for the club is plainly ridiculous yet Celtic did it, Chelsea did it with Lampard and United did it here.
I will be astonished if Liverpool do it with Gerrard, unless he’s far further on in his career than he is right now.
Which brings us to his Ibrox replacement.
The hiring of Van Bronckhorst has been swift. His agreement to sign the deal was swift.
They didn’t get it done as fast as they would have liked, but it was quicker than the search would have been had he not been an ex-player. The reactions of all involved with the club have been euphoric; would there have been more questions without that connection?
That connection has turned heads inside the Ibrox boardroom, that and Van Bronckhorst’s playing career.
According to Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, there was at least one significant voice at Ibrox – that of their director of football – pushing for a much more prosaic name; Callum Davidson, who had already proven himself a winner who knew the Scottish game.
It’s easy to believe. Davidson would have come in without major promises being made and tackled the job on an austerity budget. He would have had modest plans for the backroom team instead of trying to drag an entourage with him.
There would have been no need to have him sit in the stands for the semi-final; he managed one and could easily have been managing in the other.
But others on the board rejected that; Davidson, for all he’s done here in Scotland, wasn’t a sexy enough name for them.
They went with the bling. They went with the known face.
They went with “one of their own.”
And as Chelsea, Celtic and Manchester United have already found out, that isn’t always the smartest move.
As Celtic did after Rodgers left, they grabbed a passing warm body they knew would take the job because of that prior connection and now they’ll pray they got it right.
It’s as I said earlier; the odds are against it.