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Championship merry-go-round

There have been three managerial changes in the Premier League this season, two of which were rather puzzling (Southampton sack Nigel Adkins and name Mauricio Pochettino as manager  Rafael Benitez replaces Roberto Di Matteo as Chelsea manager), and one rather less so (Mark Hughes sacked as Queens Park Rangers manager), but there have been far  more in the Championship. 

Steve Kean was the first casualty of the season, saying that he had been “forced to resign” as manager of Blackburn Rovers.  It seemed an odd time to get rid of him, but this week he had to pay “substantial” damages to Sam Allardyce after he was caught on video (in a bar in Hong Kong) saying that "Big Sam" had been sacked because he was a crook.  Blackburn decided that after one inexperienced manager had failed, what they needed was someone with six years of managerial experience in, er, Norway - former player Henning Berg.

Then Bolton sacked Owen Coyle and appointed Dougie Freedman from Crystal Palace, who in turn recruited Ian Holloway from Blackpool, creating another vacancy, which was filled by appointing Michael Appleton (from struggling Portsmouth). 

So what happened next?  Henning Berg, was sacked after only 57 days, and Michael Appleton become Blackburn’s third manager of the season.  Yes, that’s the same Michael Appleton who had joined Blackpool just 65 days earlier.  He said that he made the move because Blackburn “is a club that is steeped in history”  and “the ambition of owners Venky's persuaded him to join.”   That’s Indian poultry giant Venky's, and their global adviser Shebby Singh (former pundit on ESPN Star Sports).

But Michael Appleton hasn’t had as many managerial positions as Sean O'Driscoll.  In the summer he quit his coaching role at Nottingham Forest to become  manager of Crawley Town (newly promoted from League Two to League One), but almost immediately turned round and headed back to Nottingham Forest as the replacement for Steve Cotterill.  That lasted until 26th December when he was sacked (to be replaced by Alex McLeish*).  However, he didn’t have long to wait before starting his fourth job of the season, at Bristol City, as replacement for Derek McInnes, who was sacked on 12th January.

* Yes, Alex McLeish who had failed at Birmingham and Aston Villa.  No, I don’t understand it, either.

In other Norwegian manager news, Stale Solbakken managed to survive for just over six months at Wolverhampton Wanderers before being sacked on 5th January and replaced by Dean Saunders.

It’s less surprising when a club at the bottom of the league fires their manager: Paul Jewell left Ipswich Town “by mutual consent”  and they appointed Mick McCarthy, who had a distinctly uneven start - his first six matches included three wins, one draw, and two heavy defeats (5-0 and 6-0), but they are now out of the relegation zone. 

Barnsley sacked Keith Hill just after Christmas when they were bottom of the table and replaced him with David Flitcroft. 

That’s 11 changes out of 24 clubs in just over half a season.


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