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Megson Sacking Ends Loveless Month For Managers

Thursday 1st March 2012
MANY years ago, Len Shackleton's autobiography contained a chapter on what an average Chairman of a football club knows about football. It was a blank page. After last night's ruthless sacking of Gary Megson at the helm of Sheffield Wednesday, that blank page seems even more true.

After a year at the club, Megson was given the sack my chairman Milan Mandaric. He leaves Sheffield Wednesday with the club lying third in the table, five points behind fierce rivals Sheffield United in second. The sacking seems even crazier considering their last result was a victory in the steel city derby at Hillsborough. However, the sword was drawn three days later as Megson was sacked from the Owl's.

Mandaric claimed that the decision to sack Megson was in the best interest for the club if they were to achieve promotion. With thirteen games left of the season, you have to ask yourself what a new manager could do that Megson couldn't. The recent victory over Sheffield United showed that Megson had astute tactics and on their day, Wednesday could beat anyone.

From the first day of the season Charlton have always led the league thanks to their fantastic form and management from Chris Powell. This has left up to four teams slugging it out to grab the second automatic promotion place with Sheffield United lying there at the moment, mainly thanks to the goals of Ched Evans.

But with the unpredictability of the league this season, any of the teams from Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield and MK Dons could claim the illusive place. This does question Mandaric's decision as Wednesday aren't out of the race and still have an excellent chance in gaining promotion. Even if they don't gain the automatic promotion place, the club will still be three victories away from being in the Championship.

However, we need to look at the decision from Mandaric's point of view. Football clubs at the end of the day are businesses and for the Chairmen, being in the higher leagues will bring in more money for the club. Mandaric will look at the recent results and base his decision on that. Despite the encouraging victory in the derby, the club have lost nine games this season, more than any other club in the play-off places. The new manager (with Dave Jones favourite to replace Megson) might give the club a lift for the remaining games but the new appointment might backfire without the new manager's knowledge of the team. If Sheffield Wednesday gain promotion, it might be seen as a clever bit of business by Mandaric, but if they don't then it will just be a pointless execution.

Gary Megson's sacking wasn't the only strange one in February. Lee Clark had his contract at Huddersfield terminated on the 15th. Clark left the club lying in fourth in the league, seven points behind automatic promotion. Clark, who was perplexed with the decision, had previously in the season managed a record breaking side, with the team achieving a 43 game unbeaten run.

Clark, who had only lost three games, was then nominated for an “outstanding managerial achievement” award by the Football League, which makes his sacking even more baffling. Chairman Dean Hoyle defended the decision, saying that the club needed a change to gain promotion. But since the sacking has the fortunes of Huddersfield improved? Huddersfield are only a point closer to automatic promotion which does question whether the decision has been justified. Only time will tell whether the decisions to sack Clark and Megson were actually thought through or just a rush of blood to the head.

February also saw the sackings of Martin Allen from Notts County, Simon Grayson from Leeds and Mick McCarthy from Wolves. At the time, Allen's sacking seemed harsh but since the sacking, Notts County have improved their position to just behind the play off places. Wolves dismal run which saw them flirt with relegation saw McCarthy gone while Grayson was sacked being only three points behind play-off positions, another questionable sacking. The sackings seen in February have all been a bit strange and could arguably been prevented but at the end of the day, time will tell whether they have been justified. Let's hope, for the manager's sake, March is a bit quieter.
Craig Lishman

Total articles: 9

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