Often Partisan

New Manager for BCFC

I’m a long time reader and poster on smallheathalliance.com, and I have to admit that sometimes the intelligence, wit and eloquence on there blows me away. An idea was suggested this morning that people put forward their reasons as to why certain people should be Blues’ next manager. With the permission of the people who posted them, I’ve collated them here so that a wider audience may read, digest and discuss.

Lee Clark by Ron

– As a footballer, he always came across as an intelligent player, playing big parts at Newcastle, in Fulham’s resurgence under Tigana and Keegan and at Sunderland in their promotion campaign. Granted, a clever footballer doesn’t necessarily make a good manager, but it’s a good sign – you very rarely get a player who you think is “clueless” who makes a good manager.

– I feel it’s time for a new, fresh, eager, ambitious manager. He fits the bill in every sense. I have been impressed with him every time I have seen/heard him and thought that his interview after Huddersfield beat Bournemouth in the Play Off Semis was very refreshing. He said that a night like that was far better than anything he’d ever done as a player, as he was responsible for 50-60 people (players, staff, etc) rather than just looking after himself. He has brought the whole club together there – something else I think we need.

– Huddersfield play good, entertaining football. I don’t think I need to elaborate on why we’d all like that…

– He would bring a good backroom staff with him. He knows that he’s still fairly fresh-faced, so he has surrounded himself with good football people. Derek Fazackerly and Terry McDermott support him there – in terms of experience, those two put Andy Watson and Peter Grant to shame. I think there’s another one there too who I forget. We’d be bringing in an all-round good team.

– That’s about it really.

Malky Mackay by Raj

My reasoning

— inherited a horrendous situation at Watford; on the verge of liquidation, with 15 players
— didn’t complain for a moment, got on with it, promoted the kids to the first team and got them organised
— took punts on loan players and stuck with them even when the fans gave them grief early on (e.g. Mutch to begin with)
— twinned younger players with more experienced ones who helped them navigate the ropes (e.g. Mutch was twinned with John Eustace)
— vocally supportive of young talent such as Marvin Sordell when they went through bad spells, to the point that they recovered and rebounded
— plays a very fluid formation home and away and attacks in all circumstances
— goals!
— articulate, experienced and bloody minded, both as a player and a manager
— would consider the job a big step up and relish every second, and would take the Europa qualifier seriously
— knows the lower divisions, knows how to navigate the transfer market for bargains and adept at using loans from Premiership clubs
— finally, I can’t articulate just what a massive achievement it was for Watford not to get relegated given their start of season context. At one point they went into a game with 9 players under the age of 19 in the matchday 16

Alan Curbishley by BlueDaveBCFC

Let’s look at his career, his history.

Curbishley made his name as a player at West Ham, he was taught how to play the game the right way, because at that time, for the apprentices, as they were then, it genuinely was an academy of football, long before the word became fashionable.

He then played for Blues, he knows the club, he knows the supporters, he understands what is and isn’t important to us. You only have to listen to him on one of his frequent media appearances to see that he STILL understands the, and let’s be honest about this, fairly weird psyche of what it means to be a Bluenose.

Some would gloss over the next stage of his career, but I want to highlight the fact that he was transferred from Blues to Villa. We can all say what we like about it, but, it clearly shows that he has some balls. It’s also worth noting, that, in my opinion, he was royally shafted by Villa, he was signed, a new manager came in, and sold him in slightly less than one calendar year. And that if he’s honest, was the start of the decline of his playing career. I like to think that he still harbours that little grudge, that little dislike of our neighbours across the city.

Managerially, everyone knows he was manager of Charlton, and most know he did “a good job”. But do you really know just how much of a good job he did there? He was appointed sole manager of Charlton in 1995, they were in what is now League One. Five years and two promotions later, Charlton Athletic, a team with no ground and almost no club a few years before, were in The Premier League. And there they stayed, bar a one season blip, with practically no budget.

No one seems to give him enough credit for the job he did at West Ham either. He took over with them all but doomed, they won seven of their last nine games to survive. What would we have given for THAT sort of form? Following year he steered the same players virtually, to a top ten finish, before being shafted bythe owners the following season.

Curbishley was a master of making the best of the players he had through excellent organisational skills plus excellent player spotting in the first place (At Charlton, he signed Darren Bent for £2.5M, Mark Kinsella, Danny Mills, Dean Kiely, Luke Young, for peanuts. At West ham, he signed Scott Parker for what? £6M? he’s probably about to be sold for 2 to 3 times that, Craig Belllamy for £7.5M and he was sold for £14M) all players who have played hundreds of Premier League games. He gave a first break from youth team football to Lee Bowyer, Scott Parker, Paul Konchesky, so it’s fairly plain he can spot and more importantly, give a young player a chance if they are good enough. Let’s make no bones about it, by all appearances at the moment, Blues are skinter than a skint thing a day before pay day. The attributes of signing players cheaply, and making the team play as more than the sum of it’s parts will be absolute key to how we fare. I suggest there is no finer exponent of this than Curbs.

Think back to last season, and of course the glorious “best squad in Blues history” relegation seasons. Does anyone honestly think with that talent at his disposal, his own talent for making a team better than it’s players, or for spotting bargains, or young players, we would have been relegated in either case?

Some might say he’s been out of the game, so what? he’s a genuine football man. He’s probably seen more football and footballers since leaving West Ham than any of us (except Squealy). Some will say can we afford to take a chance appointing a man out of the game for so long, I say can we afford not to appoint the man who is clearly best suited to provide good football, the best talent for bargain hunting, one of the best talents for bringing through youth players, and, more importantly, a man who in his entire managerial career, has hit pretty much every target ever set him. Promotion after promotion followed by survival after survival at Charlton, survival and progress at West Ham.

Ladies and gentleman, Alan Curbishley, is the answer.

Chris Hughton by Barking Poslethwaite

– has more experience than he is given credit for: 14 years coaching at Spurs for starters, including under-21s, reserves and first team. Would want to build a decent youth system.

– impressive at Newcastle: relegated club in turmoil (familiar?) and guided them back as champions in record time, lost only four games, attractive football etc etc. Made a decent start to the Premier League before being unjustly sacked.

– was blessed with a decent squad but had to do more rebuilding than most people realise with 5 new first teamers. Kept some of the egos in check. Everybody now says they were a shoo-in for promotion, but I remember we were all laughing they were going to go into meltdown when they were relegated. He steadied the ship and they didn’t.

Ladies and gentlemen, I offer you a manager for the club suited to the needs of today and the needs of tomorrow: Chris Hughton.

Martin O’Neill by H-Bomb

Martin O’Neill is by far the ‘biggest’ name we have realistically discussed in terms of becoming our new manager.

This guy is revered in the game up and down the country. As boss of Aston Villa even we had to begrudgingly admit that he was a great manager.

To make my claim for MON, let me first give you a bit of information about his background. As a player, most of you no doubt know that he spent the majority of his career at Nottingham Forest. As a young 23 year old he became a player under the stewardship of the late Brian Clough. Being under Clough whilst still at a young meant that he was maleable and able to learn from such a great manager. He later replicated the Clough and Taylor partnership with his number two John Robertson. More on this later.

Leaving a distinguished playing career after being shaped and taught by Brian Clough put him in good stead for a bright managerial career. O’Neill has experience in the lower leagues by cutting his teeth with Wycombe Wanderers and led them into the football league for the very first time. He followed this up with a successive promotion and even took Wycombe as far as the brink of the Division 2 playoffs the following season. As a young and raw manager he had already taken Wycombe from the wilderness to the brink of the top division.

After a brief spell at Norwich he found himself manager of Leicester. He led them to victories in our Cup Competition in 1997 & 2000. He was massively dominant at Celtic however I’ll gloss over this as it’s not applicable to our situation nor needs elaborating on any further.

The Vile. Look at the fanfare sparked by his arrival in August 2006. He took our hated rivals to consecutive top 6 finishes and the quarter finals of the Europa League. He got the better of us on every occasion that he faced us. His face haunted me when he was Villa manager. He was the epitomy of success for them.

He’s passionate and shows his celtic fire on the touchline. In a time when we want change one massive difference will be a livewire on the touchline kicking every ball. He wants to score goals as well as having a firm base in defence. We will be entertained, we will find that excitement and spark that has been missing the past few years.

Martin O’Neill will attract and retain top players. His name is massive in the game and any other Championship club (that he hasn’t played for) would not have a chance of getting him to sign. He and his family live locally and he has unfinished business following his shock dismissal.

The major problem the club have with O’Neill is that THEY would need to convince HIM to join. If he expresses an interest, we shouldn’t even interview him. I’ll drive him there myself.

This man will bring the buzz back to St.Andrews and rejuvinate a club in despair. He’s not young but he has the infectious desire of a young buck. He’s got a proven track record of success and has learnt from one of the best manager this country has ever seen.

He’s the right choice. If he’s available, he’s the only choice.

Thanks for reading.

Whoever the board pick as the new manager, there are going to be some fans who are pleased and some displeased by their pick. I hope the board scrutinise the candidates for the job as well as these fans have.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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