Leeds United this week did their level best to put us in the shade in the comedy club stakes. Eleven games into the season and on the back of a bad run they sacked their manager/head coach Uwe Rosler, only appointed in the summer, and gave his job to Steve Evans,who’d recently parted company with Rotherham. Rotherham have also recently replaced Evans with Rosler’s predecessor at Leeds, Neil Redfearn.
Rosler was the sixth manager or head coach to be relieved of their post by Leeds since owner Massimo Cellino took over in January 2014, just over 18 months ago. Prior to that, Cellino had got rid of 36 managers in 22 years in charge at Cagliari in Italy.
On the same day Rosler was fired, Cellino was disqualified from ownership of Leeds by the FA after failing their toothless Fit and Proper person test due to previous convictions for financial crime and fraud in Italy. Cellino is only the 5th person to actually fail the test in over 10 years.
The purpose of mentioning all this isn’t to promote a cringing acceptance of what we have here at Newcastle,”be careful what you wish for”, far from it. What this does show is how bad things can get. The aim has to be removing our club from private ownership, and for that matter all such institutions and clubs. That requires collaboration between governing body and government. Don’t hold your breath.
This is the End
Marina Hyde pointed out in the Guardian this week the absurdity of the clean, change candidate for FIFA’s presidency being a representative of a hereditary autocracy who torture footballers. They are ploughing on with their presidential election when a significant proportion of their executive commitee, the current President, and several of those previously tipped to succeed him are either suspended by FIFA or charged with criminal offences. They seem to think nothing can stop their control, their dominion over football.
This week UEFA charged Manchester City because their fans booed the UEFA Champions league theme when it was played before their match in that competition.There’s a regulation which explicitly forbids “disruption of a competition anthem” apparently. What ever happened to free speech, even the right of consumers to complain about what they are being served? This is all very indicative of our role in things; sit down, shut up, pay your money and provide an attractive backdrop for advertisers.
This all feels like something is about to break, that something is about to end. I don’t know what is to replace these governing bodies or how but it seems the time is fast approaching that they will be perceived as more trouble than they are worth and swept away.
Back to the Future
Rangers have won their first ten league games of the season in Scotland’s second tier. Already they look like they are on a procession to the title and then returning to the Scottish Premiership for next season. Within a couple of years it will no doubt be as if they had never been away. The dynamic of the league hasn’t really changed for the better without them. More teams fight for 2nd 3rd and 4th but Celtic have won every single title since Rangers last won it. Two clubs dominating has been replaced temporarily with a single club. Everyone would love there to be closer competition there than the permanent Old Firm grip on things, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.
Don’t Let it Go to Your Head
I’m told we are favourites to win today’s game with Sunderland; what a load of steaming old you-know-what. We win one game and all of a sudden we’re the team in form. In case no-one had noticed, and no disrespect intended to them, but we were playing Norwich at home last week and scored a few goals. We could easily have conceded a fair few more than we did as well. Anything could happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if today’s game was two sides playing it cagey and trying not to give anything away.
That’s the pessimism over with. On the plus side, we’ve got a good win at just the right time before this one and our players and staff have to be in a better frame of mind going into the game than they would have been after a 1-0 defeat. Pairing Mitrovic and Perez undoubtedly looks the way to go for us so fingers crossed we don’t revert to one up front now we’ve finally broken that mould. I’d love to see us take the game to them, put them under pressure and make life difficult for them from the off but whatever changes McClaren has made so far we’re still not a pressing side and we’re certainly not an attacking side. For all that, we’ve looked quite impressive when we have gone forward even when defeated in the last few games. Hopefully we can continue to create a few chances and put a couple away. Come on United.