What Good Will it Do?

Posted on 1 Apr, 2009, by in Soccer
Alan Shearer, Newcastle ManagerImage: Source

You can get used to seeing Alan Shearer, the Premiership’s all time leading scorer in tailored clothes. As what was regarded in the beginning as an April Fool’s joke later became a legitimate story, probably the biggest one in English football on the 1st of April despite the national side playing the Ukraine and beating them 2-1.

Is it the right decision for Shearer? Is it the right decision for Newcastle? They can’t do worst then they’ve done so far. The magpies are ranked 18th in the Premiership with 8 games to go, 2 points below Blackburn. Although it’s still too early to call them goners, with 6 more teams above them not safe from the relegation axe, Newcastle are in serious serious trouble. Newcastle haven’t won since February 7th and haven’t won at home since the 21st of December, 2008(!!!). With the games ahead not looking very promising(Chelsea this wknd, at Liverpool and at Villa on the last day among the 8 remaining), it’s safe to say Shearer has his work cut out for him. He’ll be the 4th man to be shouting orders from the dugout this season for Newcastle, after Keegan, Kinnear and caretaker Chris Hughton.

I’m not sure it was wise for the local hero to take the job. Maybe waiting for the end of the season and start getting ready for either Championship or Premiership football with a clean slate, but I guess he believes he has nothing to lose, so he took it. But has changing the manager worked for other teams in the Premiership this season? The turmoil certainly hasn’t helped Newcastle so far.

We now recount all the managerial changes made this season in the Premiership besides the mess going on at Newcastle.

Blackburn RoversImage: Source

Blackburn Rovers – One change, Paul Ince was fired and replaced by Sam Allardyce.

Paul Ince was fired after a spell of 11 league games without a win on December 16th. His record at the time was 3 wins, 4 draws and 10 losses, a mere 25.5% success rate. Since “Big Sam’s” arrival at Ewood park, he has 4 wins, 6 draws and 3 losses, 46.1% of the points. Although very much in the relegation battle, the coaching change has done nothing but good for Rovers.

ChelseaImage: Source

Chelsea F.C. – One change, Luiz Felipe Scolari was fired, Guus Hiddink replaced him.

Probably the biggest coaching change in the whole of European Football this season. Big Phil, a world cup winner with Brazil couldn’t last a whole season in Stamford Bridge in Roman’s Circus as some refer to it these days, and was fired on Feb. 9th, following a 0-0 draw with Hull City at home, soon to be replaced by the Hiddink, who has since said at numerous occasions he is only coaching till the end of this season. Hiddink has won all 5 Premier League games since his arrival, a 100% and is still in the hunt for the title although it’s a long shot. Scholari won 13, drew 7 and lost 5, barely above 50% which wasn’t enough for the Blues who saw the Dutchman become their 4th manager in less than 2 years.

Portsmouth F.C.Image: Source

Portsmouth F.C – Two changes, Harry Redknapp left for Tottenham, Tony Adams advanced and took his place but was fired only to have Paul Hart take his place.

Harry Redknapp couldn’t resist the temptation of managing a club with much more resources than he has gotten used to, so after 4 seasons with the team in his 2nd tenure down south, he bolted to London after only 8 games into the season. He won 4, drew 1 and lost 3, a 54% success rate, but those losses also included a 6-0 drubbing by Man City and a 4-0 defeat to Chelsea on opening day. Tony Adams, Redknapp’s assistant stepped up, but his time as head coach won’t be remembered well at Pompy, as Adams picked up only 10 points in 16 games, a 20% success rate. He was sacked on Feb. 9th and Paul Hart took his place as caretaker manager till the end of the season. He was won 2, drawn 2 and lost one game, with that loss coming to Chelsea and has so far pleased the club leaders. Despite the recent improvement, Pompy will probably be fighting for life in the upper flight till the end, as they are only 3 points above Newcastle at 18th.

Sunderland A.F.CImage: Source

Sunderland – One change, Roy Keane resigned and Ricky Sbragia replaced him.

Despite Promoting the team and saving them from relegation, Roy Keane was not very loved by his players. After his resignation stories of his bad temper and behavior towards players started surfacing. He was also heavily criticized for spending too much money on incompetent players. Keano’s record before his resignation was 4 wins, 3 draws and 8 defeats with his final 2 coming at home. He got only a third of the points possible. Since Sbragia took over in early December, he has won 4, drawn 5 and lost 6. A slightly better 37.7%, with the team not winning it’s last 5 games. It seemed like a good move for Sunderland in the beginning, but with the season heading into it’s final stretch and Sunderland being only 3 points above Newcastle, I guess we’ll know only when the season ends if Sbragia was the right man for the job.

Tottenham Hotspurs

Image: Source

Tottenham – One Change, with Juande Ramos sacked and replaced by Harry Redknapp.

As what seems like a annual ritual with Tottenham, they sack their coach after an awful start in the league and his replacement does a decent to good job with the club, maybe even bringing them to the higher parts of the table and than he gets sacked the next season. Like with his Predecessor, Martin Jol, Juande Ramos who came last season suffered from the same fate, and he was sacked on October 25th, after getting only 2 points in the first 8 games of the season, not winning even one game. His success rate? 8.3%, the lowest of the low this season in England. Since Redknapp coming along the team has won 36 points out of 66, 54.5%, which puts them in 11th place right now. Hypothetically, if Redknapp was the coach from the beginning, Tottenham would be 6th with 49 points. But despite his success, Redknapp needs to beware the beginning of next season, when things usually turn very bad for Tottenham managers.

West HamImage: Source

West Ham – One Change, Alan Curbishley resigned and Gianfranco Zola took his place.

This was the first coaching change of the season , but it wasn’t because of bad results. Curbishley’s feud with the board about selling players against his will developed into his resignation. He managed only 3 games, 2 of them wins. Gianfranco Zola came with much Hurrah to the team, becoming the first non British manager to manage West Ham. Since his arrival, he has won 9, drawn 8 and lost 10. West Ham are ranked 8th, with Zola achieving a 43.2% success rate and is reviewed rather positively by the media, fans and the board.

In conclusion, it seems that most managerial changes, especially right after them bring improvement to the clubs, some more major than others. In fact, the only manager to do worst than his predecessor is Tony Adams, but there was no one firing Harry Redknapp so that kinda explains it.

What does it mean for Shearer and Newcastle? I don’t know if the rule will apply for the Magpies. Shay Given, who is responsible for many of the points Newcastle won this season is no longer with them, and the team is a mess, injuries or not. Can Shearer bring enough enthusiasm and winning spirit into the club for the final 8 games? There’s a good chance he will, but I’m not sure even that will be enough to save Newcastle from relegation.