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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
For all the moments of high drama, the goals, the saves and the tears, I've got a funny feeling that the 2007/08 season will be remembered as the year that the owners of football clubs across the land finally lost their tenuous grip on reality. It's as if there is a private competition between the power-brokers; who can make the most ridiculous decision of the year? It's going to take an independent tribunal to sift through and find a winner because there's an unprecedented number of candidates. However, we're in luck. I am that independent tribunal and the results are now in.

Phil Gartside, over at Bolton Wanderers, had a chance. After Sam Allardyce's departure, he had a very simple choice. Bring in a like-for-like manager to continue the good work, or attempt to change the entire ethos of the club by appointing a coach who would strive to play proper football. Bolton's current plight is a direct result of Gartside choosing the latter and then panicking and resorting to the former. He gave ex-Liverpool coach Sammy Lee piles of money and encouragment and then sacked him when he didn't see immediate results. As if you could turn around almost a decade of percentage-based, long-ball in ten games.

Allardyce himself didn't fare much better at St James Park. Hired by Freddy Shepherd and fired by Mike Ashley not long afterwards, his was a confusing tenure. If Ashley is as enthusiastic a football fan as he makes out, surely he must have known what kind of football he was going to get from his manager. He should have either paid him off immediately or actually given him time to put foundations down. To sack him halfway through the season once the small amount of money available was spent, gave the impression that he didn't really know what he was doing.

There were others, the Gruesome Twosome at Anfield for alienating one of the best managers on the continent by publicly courting a replacement with no club experience at all. Roman Abramovich for not working harder to resolve his problems with Jose Mourinho. Daniel Levy for effectively sacking Martin Jol after two games where the Dutchman had to play without his first choice defenders. But there was one runaway leader who stood out amonst the rest as we approached the final furlong.

Step forward Dr Thaksin Shinawatra who, with this victory, has proved that it's possible to be a winner and a loser at the same time. Former Manchester City manager Peter Reid launched an attack on Shinawatra this week, begging him not to sack Sven Goran Eriksson.

"It's alright running a country," said Reid, "but sometimes it's harder to run a football club."

I like Reid a lot and he certainly knows what he's talking about. Few people remember now that when he managed City, he finished fifth, one place ahead of Manchester United. However, I think he's wrong here. It's easy to run a football club. Choose a good, proven manager, give him the funds available, support him whole-heartedly and then back off and shut up. Sven has enjoyed success at every club he's managed since emerging from Sweden in the 1980s. Faced with an impossible task of having to build an entirely new team in less than a month, not only did he pull it off, but he did it in style. He's the first City manager in years to do the double over United and he's guaranteed a top ten finish. A sackable offence if ever I saw one.

Apparently the FA have a 'fit and proper persons test' that they use to filter out the undesirables who shouldn't be allowed to run a football club. Might I suggest that they tighten it up a little?

Congratulations Dr Shinawatra! Who said Manchester City wouldn't win anything this year?