Here in Scotland, frustration and anger over VAR continues to grow the closer we get to the split. The business end of the season is when the craziness tends to happen and when things that would barely have drawn a whimper are suddenly momentously important. In England, where things are even crazier, it is the Silly Season. The Sacking Season.
This year feels like an outlier though. I have never known so many managers in the top flight to fall in such a short space of time and every one who does sees a new round of speculation linking Ange Postecoglou to a move. The writers of this stuff don’t even need facts to write these pieces and some of it actually contradicts what the top sports journalists in England know from having spoken to people at the centre of the clubs.
Ange would do well to pay attention to the nature of what’s happening down there. Clubs have no patience for the “project”. Chelsea hired Potter on the explicit understanding that he would get time to put his ideas into place. Their patience lasted 7 months, and that was longer than many in the media thought that he was going to get.
This is the second Chelsea manager to go this season. Southampton have also sacked two. This is incredible. But it’s a symptom of the wider issue.
Everton fired their boss. Leeds manager has gone. Wolves’. Palace’s. Rodgers is gone at Leicester. Conte at Spurs. Manchester United fired their boss. Aston Villa got rid of Gerrard. Scott Parker was sacked by Bournemouth. In fact, no fewer than a dozen EPL managers have been sacked in this campaign so far, which is a new record.
And we’re not finished yet. Forest’s manager is on the brink. We might yet see West Ham dispense with the services of David Moyes. That would take the sacking count to 14, and that’s extraordinary but sums up the level of panic which sweeps through that league.
No other top flight in Europe goes through convulsions quite like it. Ange has spent years building his managerial reputation. Right now it’s as high as it’s ever been and he is finally at a European club with a huge pedigree. A move to some middling English side will give him a bigger platform than he probably ever thought possible – but at what cost?
He can certainly make money there, more than he’s ever made in his life, but I’m guessing Ange is already pretty well off. Here at Celtic he’s in total control. He can write his own ticket. He can build this club into anything he wants it to be.
In England, in their top flight, the pressure for success is instantaneous. If he had started at an EPL club the way he started at Celtic he would have instantly been a candidate for dismissal. It has happened down there already this season. Nathan Jones at Southampton got eight games. Eight. He lost seven of them, but with that squad, in that league, what do you expect?
There are a handful of teams in that league capable of winning a title. But every club under them is massively outgunned and those sides below the top six don’t stand a chance. Theirs is a constant struggle for relevance when it’s not a struggle for survival.
And more and more, it is exactly that; a brutal, Darwinian brawl. So why would he want anything to do with it? At most of these clubs you are merely waiting for the moment you dip below a certain level and then you’re just waiting for the inevitable firing.
Ange should be taking note … and steering clear of it all.