POOR Malky Mackay must be furious after Cardiff’s Malaysian owners sacked one his closest allies this week. Iain Moody was Malky’s head of recruitment and had been with him since he managed Watford. Now he’s been replaced by a 23-year-old kid from Kazakhstan, a work experience student who is apparently a friend of owner Vincent Tan.
I can only imagine what Malky’s going through at the minute, but if it’s anything like my experience at QPR, it isn’t very nice.
Like Malky, I worked for Malaysian owners. I’d won promotion under Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone, but they sold up to Tony Fernandes towards the end of August.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not against foreign investors. A lot of good has come from the money they generate.
But they don’t really understand the ins and outs of football. As a result, they tend to get too much advice from people whose only aim is to take advantage of them. Agents, hangers-on.
Reading between the lines at Cardiff, I would imagine Malky is in exactly the same boat.
That’s why when a young manager asks me for advice, the first thing I always say is this: Before you accept a job, make sure you’ll be working for a good chairman.
Not just one who gives you a decent budget. But one who gives you time and support as well. As managers, we all go through bad spells. What you need is someone strong enough to believe in you and ignore the whispers that go round when you’re struggling.
As I said earlier this season, just look at the way Barry Hearn stuck by Russell Slade at Orient.
Every manager that gets promoted to the Premier League these days must feel anxious. If you can get past the January transfer window, you must feel like you’ve won the pools. Just look at what happened last year.
Nigel Adkins brought Southampton straight through two divisions to reach the Premier League. He was sacked just 18 days into the New Year.
Brian McDermott took Reading to a play-off final then the Championship title. He got until March before they booted him out.
I think those two incidents brought home just how precarious life is for managers who get promoted from the Championship.
It’s that bad, you’d expect managers to think twice about trying to go up. But let me assure you, nobody thinks like that. All you’ve got in your mind is promotion. Once it’s done, it’s on your CV, never to be deleted.
That’s why, whatever happens at Cardiff in the coming weeks, Malky can hold his head up high.
He did great work at Watford, fantastically at Cardiff and if the worst comes to the worst he will walk into a job at Championship level.
DARIO AND GLENN CAN SET ENGLAND ON RIGHT PATH
YOU’VE got to have a bit of sympathy for Crewe, who’ve been shipping goals left right and centre.
They’d conceded 15 in five games heading into the weekend, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see them struggling at the bottom end of League One.
I’m sure Steve Davis will be tearing his hair out. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much work you do on the training ground – if people make mistakes then it counts for nothing. That’s the way it goes when you’re struggling.
But the thing you always know about Crewe is that the club won’t panic because of a few bad results.
Dario Gradi has been there for about 150 years, so he knows about stability.
Me and Dario have had some great battles down the years, and you always knew what you were going to get. No matter how dire their situation, they refused to change their philosophy.
They always trusted in young players, always played the right way.
That’s why it’s fantastic to see Dario on the FA panel that has been set up to improve the England team.
It’s not before time, either. At last the FA seem to be showing a bit of common sense, something that’s been seriously lacking in the past. When people like Dario stop managing, all that experience shouldn’t be lost.
And if you want to know about youth development, there’s nobody better.
I doubt any manager has a better record of bringing through young, English players and giving them a chance than Dario.
Plenty have gone on to play for England, like Dean Ashton and David Platt.
Speaking of the panel, I’ve also got a lot of time for Glenn Hoddle. I don’t know him too well but whenever he talks about football I think it makes a lot of sense.
With those two involved, I think they’ve got a great chance of sorting out the problems with youth development in this
MOORE’S STILL SO RIGHT FOR ROVERS
WHAT a difference a year makes. This time last season, Tranmere were top of League One. Now they’re rock bottom and scrapping for their lives.
Last year spoiled them. It was obvious to everyone in the country that they punched way, way above their weight.
With their budget, they shouldn’t have been anywhere near the top six, let alone the top of the league, as they were for a chunk of the season.
Now it’s a bit of a reality check. You just have to hope the hierarchy don’t get too carried away by last year’s results and think Ronnie is underachieving.
Because the fact is, I don’t see anybody better than Ronnie Moore. He’s seen it all before and he’s a master at working on a shoestring and getting blood out of a stone.
If somebody else came in, they’d have no money either. So why change? Regardless of the results, I think Tranmere are in great hands.
DOUGIE CLIMB BEGINS
I DON’T care what Dougie Freedman says. After Bolton finally got their first win last weekend, his overriding – and probably sole – emotion would have been relief.
We’ve all been there. When you don’t see where the next win will come from. When you turn up on a Saturday and fear the worst.
It will have been all he thought about from the moment he woke up, so however much Dougie plays it cool, don’t believe that he isn’t relieved.
Now he’ll be hoping that’s just the start. It should be, because they’ve got a good enough squad to be miles above where they are now.