Andy Munro looks at the sacking of Lee Clark.
So the inevitable happened after fans had spent 24 out of the last 25 home games in a state of severe depression. But was Lee Clark unlucky and hard done by as the Newcastle-based journo suggested in mocking a “clown club”?
On that basis, by the way, I might suggest that the Geordie critic looks across at the saga of the Barcode fans and Mr Pardew or maybe turns his head to look at the Bantam Nil Eights. People in glass houses?
However, Clark is not a man to be pitied with the salary he has been picking up (and then there’s the payoff) nor, in fairness, is he a man to be despised. He was clearly passionate about the Blues and immensely proud to be at the helm. None of his cause was helped by the stringent financial constraints and, as part of that scenario losing key players such as Davies, Burke and Redmond. This was, of course, compounded by managing through the Ziggy era (or should that be error) and then seeing the greedy Serb staying on only as long as he could rake in his filthy lucre.
Another point in Lee’s defence is that he generally assembled a half-decent squad using almost literally pennies and I think most Blues fans would agree that the side have the potential to reach at least a mid-table position, if handled right. Clark has also been instrumental in the impressive maturing process of Blues’ next generatio -.Gray, Arthur, Reilly, Reece- Brown, Packwood, and Hancox to name some of the more notable ones.
That’s all to the good but somehow Lee Clark’s sides have consistently failed to bring home the bacon pointswise. He’s been called tactically inept and certainly, he seems rarely to have had a Plan B when things have gone wrong.
His ‘tinkerman’ tag has been well earned as he’s often changed the side round almost on a whim either because either he’s dropped players immediately after just one below par performance or to combat the opposition rather than let them worry about us.
His lack of charisma during interviews also has failed to inspire confidence amongst supporters as he’s mumbled for England whilst seemingly trying his hardest not to look straight at the camera like some shifty criminal with something to hide.
That begs the question that if his persona failed to convince the ordinary fan then what effect would It have had on the players? This is unfortunately in an era when many spoilt members of the younger generation have little respect for authority and seize on the slightest weakness to undermine/ test it. Clark maybe got too close to his players and maybe being one of the lads backfired on him. Perhaps the new manager needs to distance himself a bit to earn and keep respect.
Having said that, I wish Lee Clark well and hope that he finds a successful niche somewhere having learnt some salutory lessons in the unforgiving atmosphere which currently pervades the Blues.
However, it’s a results game and sometimes things go stale so a breath of fresh air is what’s required to rekindle the fans’ enthusiasm. Either way, it won’t be easy for the new manager.
Who might it be? I can’t see Tony Pullis bothering as he would want a sizeable war chest. I don’t think it would work with a Hughton return and in any event he would be on a hiding to nothing. Trevor Francis hasn’t got the hunger and doesn’t need the stress.
So my vote goes to genuine Bluenose Gary Rowett who is already earning managerial plaudits. Let’s hope we can now turn a corner even with the current shower in ownership.