I wrote about the Championship merry-go-round shortly after Michael Appleton had become Blackburn’s third manager of the season in mid-January. Now’s he’s become the 32nd manager to be fired this season. Where would Blackburn be without Venky’s and their global football adviser, Shebby Singh? Don’t answer that.
It was only a few weeks ago that Appleton was quoted as saying that “if Shebby Singh is global advising, he's not advising me”. Now it seems that Singh has had the last laugh by getting rid of him.
Alex McLeish? He lasted just 39 days as Nottingham Forest before leaving by “mutual consent” (which for once seemed not to be just a polite way of saying that he had been fired). He left shortly after the peculiar business with George Boyd “failing a medical” on deadline day.
Anyone else? Ah yes, Simon Grayson was sacked by Huddersfield Town after a run of twelve matches without a win, though his successor has not been notably more successful.
And in the Premier League, Reading demonstrated that they could be every bit as ungrateful to a manager who had got them promoted as Southampton had been a few weeks earlier, by firing Brian McDermott.
It’s all madness, I tell you.
Some decisions have been unfathomable. Sacking Mick McCarthy last February and replacing him with his assistant, Terry Connor, was madness. The appointment of Stale Solbakken in the summer was another error of judgment. Unveiled in May as the man to take Wolves back to the Premier League with a more refined style of play, Solbakken was sacked eight months later following a humiliating FA Cup defeat at non-league Luton Town. By that point, the players had long become exasperated with the Norwegian's methods.
Eager to get rid of "the Mick McCarthy culture", Solbakken felt the best way forward was to empower the players. Standards dropped, discipline disappeared – Bakary Sako went unpunished after reporting late for one game – and training lost its competitive edge, with some of the drills regarded as ridiculously basic. Johan Lange and Patrick Weiser, the assistant manager and first-team coach Solbakken brought in to work alongside him, had little authority.
When things started to go badly wrong on the pitch, Solbakken was reluctant to read the riot act, prompting Roger Johnson, whose own time at Wolves has been little short of a disaster, to confront the manager in the changing room during the run of three straight league defeats before the Luton game. Johnson, along with a few other players, felt that Solbakken needed to adopt a tougher line and urged him to point the finger. Solbakken, keen to avoid confrontation, refused.
If Solbakken's departure was inevitable, Saunders's arrival represented a surprise, in part because of the speed with which things happened but also because he was the only person interviewed. Sean O'Driscoll, who had been harshly dismissed by Nottingham Forest, was available, yet he never got a look in. O'Driscoll went on to take over at Bristol City, where he has picked up 17 points from his 11 games in charge. Saunders has eight points from the same number of matches.
Though, to be fair to Wolves and Dean Saunders, they did win last Saturday.