Harty on football managers, Albion and Pompey

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ST MIRREN hold the unique distinction of being the only club, to date, to have sacked Sir Alex Ferguson, thus proving beyond all doubt that it happens to almost every football manager at some time in their career.

However, I doubt it cost the Scottish club the estimated £13,000 a minute of total match time that Chelsea have allegedly paid out for Andre Villas-Boas’ tenure at Stamford Bridge.

Wrong place at the wrong time, an ageing yet powerful squad, muddled thinking in selection, the list of reasons goes on but, once again, it highlights the unique nature of football management.

In what other profession can you fail in a job, get sacked, yet at a later date, in some cases weeks or months, another club will give you the self-same job?

AVB walks away from Chelsea a very rich man, who no doubt will work again in football. Well, face it, Avram Grant did!

Clearly, no-one has been lined up in the short-term because, and again highlighting my previous point, Chelsea have put the rest of the season, and potential Champions League success, in the hands of Roberto Di Matteo, a man deemed not competent enough to manage West Bromwich Albion 12 months ago.

Thankfully, I still think that it’s too early for Gus Poyet to be a contender for the job in the summer, although possibly, when Abramovich sacks the next manager in about 18 months’ time, Poyet might then be ready.

Ironically, it’s perhaps the Albion that bucks the trend when it comes to sacked managers finding new managerial jobs?

Going back 30 years, there have been nine managers who have left the Seagulls’ hot seat and never managed in the Football League again to date.

Starting with Mike Bailey in December, 1982, he was followed by Chris Cattlin, Alan Mullery, Barry Lloyd, Liam Brady, Jimmy Case, Steve Gritt, Jeff Wood and Dean Wilkins, and it’s actually 10 if you count Martin Hinshelwood, although he has remained at the Albion in another capacity since his removal in 2002.

In their defence, some have secured coaching positions, but I wonder if any other league club has that kind of record over 30 years?

It seems inconceivable, but Saturday’s Amex date with Portsmouth could yet prove to be the last time the Albion ever take on their south coast neighbours.

Pompey administrator Trevor Birch has indicated there is a serious threat that the club may not make it to the end of the season, although, in my opinion, I don’t think that will happen.

Promotion to the Premier League is now worth initially an estimated £50million pounds. If Pompey were to go to the wall, their record would be expunged, and teams would lose the relevant points they gained against them.

Frankly, I cannot see the likes of West Ham risk losing six points and the chance of automatic promotion without exploring every avenue of legally assisting Portsmouth to complete 46 matches.

And, finally, congratulations to Worthing Town under-12s, managed by Gary Cooper, who have made it through to the final of the County Cup to be played at Culver Road, Lancing, on Sunday, March 25.