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Managerial Madness


Billy Davies has left Derby County by mutual consent with his team rooted to the bottom of the Premiership. Meanwhile Rafael Benitez is next for the chop, if you believe what you read in the papers.

Davies is unlucky. That’s all that can be said really. Admittedly they have been absolutely shocking but in truth, getting them to the Premiership was a hell of a job in the first place. Derby’s squad doesn’t look like it would get near the top of this year’s Championship let alone hold its own in the top division.

Demoralising defeats have cost them dearly and only a win against Newcastle has stopped it becoming a complete nightmare for the Rams fans. And let’s face it, Newcastle haven’t been at their best this year really have they? The fact that it is mutual consent means either Davies has another job lined up or he has been offered a bit of money to resign without adding a sacking to his cv. The fact is unless Derby invest heavily in the right players in January, they will go down regardless of the new manager’s identity. Truth be told, not many top players will be willing to sign a long-term contract with a club who are doomed to life in the Championship next year.

Benitez? Ah, Benitez? He can’t be accused of being boring. Well, actually he can, but for a quiet guy he does tend to get a lot of bees into bonnets. The fact is he has fallen out with the American owners. Broadsheets and tabloids alike revealed that he is on borrowed time today and say what you like about the media, but when they know something’s up, they just know it, especially if they’re all singing from the same page.

Defeat at home to Porto probably won’t cost Benitez his job, defeat at home to Man Utd two weeks later most likely will, in one way or another.
I don’t believe they will sack Benitez before the end of the season unless they get given the excuse on the pitch. If Liverpool win the league, the Americans are heroes for bringing the fans the league in their first full season in ownership of the club.

If Liverpool are no closer to winning it, they have the perfect scapegoat in Benitez. It may be that they believe this is more likely, in which case they are playing a dangerous game. As much as they will be lauded for bringing the title to Anfield, Benitez will be put on a pedastal far higher than either of the wealthy owners. Sacking the Spaniard then would be near on impossible.

However another possibility is that Benitez may decide to walk away, safe in the knowledge that he had done what he set out to do. When coaches and chairmen fall out it is rarely pretty, no matter how good the coach. Mourinho and Capello have been victims of this in recent years despite leaving the year after winning their respective leagues at Chelsea and Madrid. For Benitez, this one doesn’t look too clever and an eager eye will be focused on results at Anfield for as long as the dispute continues, starting on Wednesday night……

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