Monday, 19 May 2014


By Andy Ritchie

THE gurus/gorillas at No Grey Areas have asked me to comment on the madness of the traditional managerial shuffle in both England and Scotland.

Well, this particular shuffle threatens to turn into a stampede. It began some weeks ago with the ousting of Malky Mackay at Cardiff and Davie Moyes at Manchester United, and has since gathered momentum.

And just think, we’re only just going into the close season, the traditional time for reassessing positions.

We’ll return to Malky (and his unreserved apology to Cardiff owner Vincent Tan) in a minute. I’m gonna start with one directly out of left field: my forecast is that Guy Poyet will leave Sunderland and go to West Ham.

For that to happen, of course, Sam Allardyce, would have to leave Upton Park. He’s the man, remember, whose name is inevitably on the lips of every chairman who sees his club disappearing down the nearest plughole.

But, since he’s managed to haul West Ham away from that plughole, I suppose he’s sort of expendable. So, enter the impressive Uruguayan, the wizard of Wearside. Well, that’s my reading of the situation - I trust myopia is not overtaking me!

I think that Poyet may have made the decision eight to ten weeks ago, even when he thought that Sunderland had no chance of wiping its feet on the welcome mat of the Premier Division next season. Alongside that, he maybe discovered that this wasn’t the club that he thought it was.

Let’s be circumspect and say he would have suspected that West Ham were looking to make changes, and it went on from there. Anyway, it wouldn’t be the world’s greatest surprise to see him installed in East London next season.

I’ll return to the Stadium of Light soon. First, let’s take a trip down White Hart Lane. It seems Mauricio Pochettino will shake the hand of Tottenham’s executioner-in-chief, Daniel Levy, any day soon - provided he starts speaking in English, of course.

Hey, my information is that the Argentinian’s English is very good. Why he refuses to do it on television is anyone’s guess. Even people who are close to his situation at Southampton don’t understand it.

Maybe it’s to keep a shield between himself and the public; maybe it’s to avoid being, er, misquoted. The laugh is that he’s responding to an English question in his own language before the interpreter has finished translating.

Anyway, should Pochettino take the Levy shilling and start speaking the Queen’s, there will be a vacancy at Southampton, a club due to lose players like Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana. The rumour is that Harry Redknapp might fancy a return to the south coast.

It didn’t go too well for old ’Arry last time, when I believe he entered conflict with a certain Sir Clive Woodward. The rugby guru, evidently, had a hotline to the chairman’s ear at the time and that was never going to be the ideal situation.

Why would Harry want to leave QPR? Might I suggest that the aroma of a ten-pound note might have something to do with it? Hey, if Harry was getting more money to return to Bournemouth, he’d be right up there with the ice cream sellers on the prom.

The Championship play-offs will determine all, I’d imagine. If Rangers don’t make it, hauling your arse up and down the road to faraway places with strange names like Huddersfield doesn’t quite hold the same allure.

Still, I don’t think it’s tablets of stone stuff yet. Southampton may very well have gone beyond the stage of Harry Redknapp. They would maybe like to bring in someone of the same ilk as Pochettino.

Many jobs could be up for grabs, It seems to be the way of the Premier world. A run of good results makes a man the flavour of Belgian chocolate, a run of bad ones puts him under pressure and there’s no safety net.

Davie Moyes (alias Billy McMoyes) knows that better than anyone. I suspect that, having sampled the white sands of Mauritius, or wherever, he’ll be ready to return and he’ll get a job again, no danger.

He won’t penetrate the top six again at the moment, so it’ll be Newcastle or Aston Villa. It’s suffice to say that I don’t think Paul Lambert will start next season as manager of Villa. The new people won’t want a regime that was less than successful.

The majority of these changes are the product of poor results, but the fall-out between Malky Mackay and Vincent Tan ran a lot deeper. Cardiff were in a position of safety when Mackay left them. So now a settlement (did he get any money?) has been made and a fulsome apology thrown into the mix.

As far as we know, there was nothing for which to apologise, so why would you do so? I don’t suppose we’ll ever really know the real story: it’s just one of the many unexplained tales that surround this game. Anyway, Mackay is now clear to take another job, and I expect him to go to West Brom very shortly.

Meanwhile, up here in Scotland but not, maybe, for very much longer lingers the Neil Lennon situation. There will be positions open to him down south - Norwich in the Championship and Sunderland in the Premier Division.

Take your pick. My message to sports journalists is see that you don’t run out of ink. There’s a lot more to come.

There are questions marks over the futures of Terry Butcher, John Hughes and also Jackie McNamara. Blackpool has gone, but will the lure of the Championship prove too strong for him?

Finally, I come to my old club, Morton. Who will be the next manager? I’m stumped with this one at the moment: give me 64,000 dollars and I still couldn’t tell you. All I’ll say is this: after Allan Moore and Kenny Shields, who will be the next one that the chairman plucks out of notoriety and plunges into obscurity?