Di Matteo and Hughes sacked: A busy week for the Managers Union
You wait for one, and then two come at the same time. That was the case with this week’s sacking of the first two Premier League managers of the season.
Having accumulated just four points in twelve games, and after spending £18m in the summer transfer market, QPR’s Mark Hughes was always going to be walking a tight rope in November. The club’s investment has not been matched with results, and the football world has quickly begun to question Hughes’ choice of intakes.
But should this have come as a surprise? Hughes may have enjoyed decent spells as manager with Wales and Blackburn, but as of 2008, when he joined Manchester City, his managerial career has not exactly been bathed in glory. In City, he had the opportunity, and certainly the budget, to build a legacy. Instead, he failed – signing big-name players without necessarily considering how right they were for the team.
After his stint with Fulham, owner Al Fayed called the Welshman a ‘flop’, so why was Tony Fernandez so trusting with his millions at QPR? The only real surprise was that the decision to remove Hughes was not made earlier. Harry Redknapp, the man who can rescue the doomed, has now been tasked with saving the club from a position where very few teams have avoided relegation before.
A few miles South-East towards Chelsea, and there is a very different situation. Roberto Di Matteo – an ex-Chelsea hero as a player, the saviour of the club in February and the first manager to lead them to Champions League success in May. A manager who just a few weeks ago was hailed as the man to finally transform an ageing Chelsea side into a fluid attacking force with one of the best attacking units in world football.
A few poor performances later, and some noticeable defeats in the Champions League, and Di Matteo finds himself in need of a visit to Cobham’s job centre, albeit presumably with a multi million-pound pay out. Either way, the man who saved the club last season, has been let down by an owner unwilling to put faith in any of his managers.
When they finally looked to have turned a corner, Chelsea have another interim manager and no obvious long term plan. It is a shame no one at the club is brave enough to tell Abramovich that stability brings success. It is a shame he has not looked at the structure of current league leaders Manchester United.
The appointment of Rafa Benitez may give Chelsea a more experienced manager, it may even give Fernando Torres’ a little bit of confidence, but it is surely only a matter of time before he is next to be moved on. Abramovich may be waiting for the services of Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho, but unfortunately for him, it is often the case that if you miss one bus, the next can be far away.