Graham Potter sack by Chelsea would be a disaster for Graham Potter not ‘English managers’

‘For the sake of English managers Potter has to succeed.’ Sorry but that is absolute nonsense. He has more in common with Thomas Frank than Sean Dyche.

England for the English
The bombastic Daily Telegraph header caught Mediawatch’s attention:

‘Graham Potter and Frank Lampard failing would be an English disaster’

It would certainly be an inconvenience for Chelsea and Everton, and bordering on disastrous for Potter and Lampard themselves, but why would it be an ‘English disaster’? Mediawatch is English and frankly would not give af*** if those two managers failed based purely on their nationality.

‘It is a pivotal time for English managers,’ begins the piece from Jason Burt. No, it’s a pivotal time for Potter and Lampard, who are the two Premier League managers currently under the most pressure. Why are we defining them by their nationality? What purpose does it serve?

‘If Potter and Lampard eventually fail it would reduce the number of English managers in the top-flight to two: Eddie Howe, who is excelling at Newcastle United, and Gary O’Neil who has only just been appointed on a permanent basis and is now finding life tough at Bournemouth.’

Yes. And? The Premier League is a global brand and attracts some of the best football managers in the world. Why does it matter if zero, three, seven or eight Premier League managers are English?

‘Two out of 20 is a paltry return for a country with such a powerful football heritage, such vast resources and with little prospect of other English coaches getting jobs if someone else is replaced. There are Welshmen, in Steve Cooper at Nottingham Forest and Nathan Jones at Southampton and the Northern Irishman Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City as well as Scot David Moyes at West Ham but narrowing it down to England the pool is as shallow as it has ever been. ‘

First, we’re not yet at two out of 20; Graham Potter is in no danger of being sacked by Chelsea and should Frank Lampard be evicted by Everton, the two favorites to replace him are both also English. This seems important.

But secondly, and we keep coming back to this point, why does it even matter? The elite Premier League clubs are rarely owned by Englishmen and Englishmen are the minority on the pitch, so why should we care how many are in the dug-out?

The answer, increasingly, is that the only people who really care are old-school journalists.

‘Sean Dyche is out-of-work and waiting, Scott Parker has bravely taken over at Club Brugge in Belgium – and has a Champions League last-16 tie against Benfica to look forward to – because he did not believe he would get a Premier League post after leaving Bournemouth. But, after that, it is delving into the Championship where, for example, Paul Heckingbottom has impressed at Sheffield United and Michael Carrick is showing early promise at Middlesbrough.’

Sean Dyche is the current favorite for the Everton job if Lampard is sacked, while Scott Parker was absolutely right to believe he would not get another Premier League post after failing at Fulham and Bournemouth. And both Heckingbottom and Carrick could be English managers in the Premier League next season. So even if you believe that a lack of English managers is a crisis, where exactly is this crisis?

‘For the sake of English managers Potter has to succeed. If he does not his successor will not be English.’

This makes almost zero sense. If Potter does not succeed, Chelsea might decide not to appoint another manager from the middle reaches of the Premier League, but that’s about experience, not nationality.

It’s absolutely true that his successor will not be English but only because there are no English candidates. Potter could turn things around, win the Champions League and walk out next summer and his successor would still not be English because there are no English candidates. The Blues’ US owners would probably look to replicate his success by bringing in Thomas Frank, not Sean Dyche.

‘Howe has taken Newcastle into the top six but Potter was the first Englishman to be appointed by a more established ‘elite’ club since Lampard at Chelsea, under special circumstances in 2019.’

A whole two Chelsea managers ago.

‘Before that it was Roy Hodgson at Liverpool in 2010, where he lasted just six months, and Harry Redknapp at Tottenham Hotspur in 2008 when they were still trying to break into that bracket. Tim Sherwood lasted five months at Tottenham before he was sacked in May 2014.’

It’s almost like club owners appoint largely proven managers they think might be a good fit for their teams of multi-ethic, multi-national players.

The idea that the success or failure of Potter at Chelsea will change this situation is absurd. Potter in particular – as the most un-English of English managers – is a test case for the over-achieving manager of a middling Premier League club, not a test case for Englishmen.

And the failure of Lampard should put an end to the over-promotion of excellent footballers, not the promotion of Englishmen. He has far more in common with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer than Chris Wilder.

So again, why should we care? Well, partly it seems because, well, ‘what would have happened had Gareth Southgate gone through with what he was considering and quit as England manager after the World Cup?’

Well, one thing that would not have happened is either Potter or Howe quitting their Premier League jobs for England. So quite what benefit comes to England from having English coaches among the Premier League elite is unclear. The irony is that England would have a far greater chance of appointing Potter if he failed at Chelsea or never took the job at all.

What might have happened is the appointment of Steve Holland, an English coach who was an assistant at Chelsea as they won two Premier League titles and was Southgate’s right-hand man as England reached the latter stages of three major tournaments. He does not even deserve a mention in this latest prediction of ‘English disaster’ which is actually no disaster at all.

Whisper it, but Southgate was also a failed English Premier League manager. His Middlesbrough side was relegated back in the glory days of English managers in 2008/09 when seven of the bottom eight were managed by Englishmen. Funny how nobody called that an ‘English disaster’.

After the rain…
Mark Irwin, The SunJanuary 4: ‘MIKEL ARTETA suffered another night of Toon torture as Arsenal’s hopes of opening a ten-point lead at the top of the League were thwarted by Newcastle’s spoilers.’

Mark Irwin, The SunJanuary 10: ‘Now Arsenal head into Sunday’s North London derby on the back of a five-game unbeaten run and with their confidence sky high.’

Amazing what a difference a 3-0 win over the 15th best team in League One can do.

Platt’s livin’ alright
Does content come any lower or cheaper than the current trend of marveling at how people have aged? Astonishingly, people are not frozen in time. Bizarrely, people 25 years older than they were when they were 30 now look roughly 55. It’s truly extraordinary. The Sun are masters of this utter sh*t:

”WOW’ ‘He’s changed a bit’ – Arsenal legend Ian Wright stunned by ‘unrecognizable’ ex-team-mate spotted at Oxford FA Cup tie’

This headline is accompanied by a picture of a man who looks exactly like an older David Platt precisely because he is an older David Platt.

Did Wrighty say he was ‘unrecognizable’? Did he f***.

Did anybody say this very recognizable man was ‘unrecognisable’? Did they f***.

But ta-da. We have ourselves some ‘football’ content. Oh and that’s how you use quote marks.


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