Valentine’s week. A time of love, happiness and compassion for all. But not in the English leagues it seems! On Monday, Mick McCarthy was sacked by Wolverhampton Wanderers, bringing an end to his 5 1/2 year tenure. All this despite leading Wolves back to the Premier League, and maintaining their Premier League status in the seasons that followed during his lengthy stint. Many will not be surprised by the sacking, given Wolves standing in the Premier League. Wolves have been battling relegation all season, and the 5-1 defeat to Black Country rivals West Bromwich Albion at Molineux last weekend brought an end to Steve Morgan’s seemingly never ending patience. With just 5 wins in the league this season, Wolves have become an almost certainty for the drop with bookmakers, so McCarthy’s sacking does seem fairly justified. But who can Wolves attract who can do a better job? Neil Warnock, Alan Curbishley and Steve Bruce have been touted as the three-man shortlist for the vacancy, each with considerable managerial experience of teams in a relegation scrap. Good luck to Big Mick’s successor. They certainly have their work cut out.
And then we have the curious case of Lee Clark. Despite clocking up an impressive record of 87 wins from 178 games, the Huddersfield board saw fit to terminate the contract of the ex-Newcastle man. Unlike McCarthy, Clark was battling at the right end of the table, this time in League 1. Huddersfield currently sit 4th in the league, with 55 points from their 30 fixtures so far this campaign. With 16 games left to go, and with only a 4 point gap to the automatic promotion spots, you would have been foolish to say Huddersfield weren’t sitting pretty. However, with no win in their last 3 games, the board saw this as reason enough to sack Clark. I don’t know if the Huddersfield chairman had a rush of blood to the head, or conveniently forgot that Huddersfield only very recently went on a record breaking league run, amassing a monumental 43 games without defeat.
Clark can also be credited with uncovering the gem that is Jordan Rhodes. It was Clark who signed him, Clark who gave him his chance in the first team and Clark who reaped the rewards. Now Rhodes is wanted by a host of Premier League and Championship clubs, with his phenomenal goal scoring record testament to the confidence that has been oozing through the Galpharm Stadium.
It certainly seems a strange decision to sack Clark, but the powers that be have the right to run their business the way they see fit.
All in all, the McCarthy and Clark sackings have both proved one thing. We are in a results driven business, with little or no room for error. McCarthy was definitely in a vulnerable state given Wolves’ shocking record this season, but the Clark case is surely one for debate. Gone are the days where the board will give a manager the chance to prove himself once again. For on this Valentine’s week, there has certainly been no love lost in the footballing world.