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Managerial Merry-Go-Round Continues to Circle England as McLeish’s Switch to Villa Draws Closer



As chairmen across the country continue to flex their muscles, wave their wand, and lower the axe, whichever way you look at it, more and more managers are losing their jobs. Traditionally we have looked forward to the excitement the summer transfer window to witness the explosive summer transfer dealings that in the past have characterised the English leagues. So far the managerial merry go round continues to sweep through England with no fewer than 4 high profile clubs looking for new managers as the new season draws closer, ironically only weeks it seems since the previous season ended.

 The fascinating managerial moves are changing pace and direction every day, every hour as the search continues to fill the vacant positions. Chelsea, Aston Villa, Cardiff City and Birmingham City are all on the lookout for new managers to fill their respective hot seats before the start of the new season, but so far each club have hit a wall of problems as the search to find the right man continues.

Let’s begin with wounded animal Chelsea who are on the lookout for their 5th manager since the departure of Jose Mourniho in September 2008. Number one contender Guus Hiddink’s future as Turkey manager looks in the balance as his “will he won’t he” move back to Chelsea – after he spent a successful 6 month stint in charge in 2009 – appears at this moment to be back on the cards. The bookies favourite to get the job, an announcement is expected within the next two weeks.

Elsewhere another day, another twist with Alex McLeish’s potential switch from cross city rivals Birmingham city to Aston Villa that has left both second city sides without a manager. Having been unable to stop Birmingham falling through the trap door on the last day of the season after defeat against Spurs, despite leading the Blues to Carling Cup glory in February, he resigned from the relegated cub in contentious fashion via email last weekend.

The former blues boss has since been the subject of a formal approach from Birmingham’s closest rivals, Aston Villa, just three days after leaving his job at St Andrews. In retaliation, Birmingham have threatened legal action in an attempt to get a fair compensation figure for the headhunted Mcleish as the bad blood between the two clubs thickens. The rivalry between the two clubs is ferocious and with talk of an additional formal complaint being submitted to the Premier League, if Mcleish does decide to switch sides, one thing for sure is he will have to win over the disgruntled Villa fans first if he is to mastermind the Villains rise up the table and bring the glory days back to Villa Park.

That said Mcleish is just one man in a long line of managers who have been in linked with the job at Villa Park in the last few days, most notably Wigan Athletic boss Roberto Martinez who was close to taking over last week. In fairness one of the reasons why Martinez was not welcomed by the Villa Park faithful circled over his top half of the table credentials having battled relegation with Wigan for the last three seasons. McLeish, who has been in charge of Birmingham for two relegation seasons, is in the same boat as Martinez and it remains to be seen if he is really the right man for the job.  The upheaval at Aston Villa at present which lets not forget started so promisingly under the guidance of American owner Randy Lerner Villa has crumbled into debacle and whoever takes charge will represent the third different manager in just a season.

Cardiff’s search meanwhile to find a new manager continues after missing out on Alan Shearer after negotiations between the two parties could not be agreed. Attention has since turned to Watford boss Malkay Mackay but met with a similar outcome, Cardiff have been refused permission to speak to him with the London club keen to keep the former captain in charge at Vicarage Road. A turbulent few weeks at the Welsh club who missed out on promotion for the third successive season has culminated in the departure of a string of key players; Craig Bellamy, Jay Bothroyd, Michael Chopra and Chris Burke. All in all Dave Jones failure to lead Cardiff to the promised land after so many failed attempts, coupled with the success enjoyed by welsh rivals Swansea City meant that his departure was inevitable . For the man that takes over at the Cardiff City Stadium, against the backdrop of rising debt, the club is in desperate need of a change in direction if Cardiff are to push for promotion again.

The managerial market is throwing up different conundrums everyday as the race intensifies to appoint new managers across the country, highlighted by the bitter battle between Birmingham and Aston Villa over Alex McLeish. Arguably, uncharted territory for English football to see so many managerial causalities in such a short period of time. Yes it’s happened before, but this time it’s full on as the rollercoaster ride continues to gather pace over the coming days and it would take a brave man to bet against it being the end of any managerial changes before the season starts!

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