In a galaxy far, far away
Vacancies in the Premier League are not exactly hard to come by, and it seems that the majority of these vacancies are filled with managers of top level or Premier League experience. Louis Van Gaal joined Manchester United in the summer having been manager previously of similar calibre clubs: FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich for example. The club buckled at the opportunity to allow Ryan Giggs to build experience and knowledge to allow a decades long reign. Crystal Palace were the latest Premier League club to be searching for a new manager following the exit of Tony Pulis and have openly stated that they will only accept a manager of Premier League experience, leaving only Tim Sherwood and Malky Mackay, realistically. Neither manager particularly inspires, so why not look further afield?
Mauricio Pochettino joined Southampton midway through the 2012-2013 season, shocking the majority of pundits with a not spectacular record, but the Argentine was a turn up for the books. With no Premier League experience and a name that would not be recognised on most street corners, Pochettino joined the elite group of coaches. Southampton’s hierarchy had done their homework, they found a manager with an exciting, different and most importantly effective way of playing. The 2013-2014 season brought a season of great success, finishing in eighth place, absolutely consolidating their Premier League position. His exit to Tottenham paid homage to his success.
And yet, this story cannot always be retold. Pepe Mel was the formerly immensely successful Real Betis manager who joined West Brom to little avail. The Magpies’ attempt to find a foreign manager who could be a success in the Premier League failed and has perhaps left other clubs wary.
So where does this leave West Ham? Sam Allardyce’s position in the club is, well, precarious to say the least. So who next? David Moyes and Tony Pulis are the current bookmakers’ frontrunners. No thank you, any supporter that wants these two is simply against Sam Allardyce the person rather than the football played. After these two, you are forced to look at the Mackays and Sherwoods of this world: no thank you. Unfortunately, the owners’ stated pragmatism leaves any one of these four the most likely, excluding fan preferred Slaven Bilic. An impressive coaching portfolio where he has been able to learn a large variety of footballing cultures and learn from his mistakes leaves West Ham wondering. A history of similar squads, playing attractive football with a powerful striker rings an alarm bell as perhaps it is time to take notice of a man who would fit perfectly in our current set up.
So, as we wait and watch as Crystal Palace hire a Premier League manager, naively assuming that it guarantees safety, the clock of Sam Allardyce’s time at West Ham ticks down to zero; it is time then to look to our next manager and surely Slaven Bilic must be a strong contender for the job, although it may seem to messrs Gold and Sullivan that he is from a galaxy far, far away.