After Newcastle slumped to an eighth consecutive defeat at the weekend, James Dutton looks back at the worst managers in Premier League history…
As Newcastle lurched from a long malaise to a full blown crisis with their 3-0 defeat at Leicester on Saturday, conversations started to turn towards the capabilities of manager John Carver. The loss was the club’s eighth in a row, and the 12th they’ve suffered in 17 games under the Geordie, who replaced Alan Pardew in January. So bleak is the situation that having not picked up a point since February 28, Newcastle have been sucked into a relegation scrap and their manager’s record is being likened to that of some of the very worst managers the Premier League has seen since 1992. Join TFN as we trawl through the archives and relive the sad tales of some of the league’s least well remembered characters…
Poor old Ricky Sbragia could barely muster a smile during his time on Wearside. His furrowed brow was a weekly occurrence on Match of the Day, be it after a 4-1 win over Hull or a 3-0 defeat to Everton, that sorrowful stare into the reporter’s eye looked the same. It had all started so well for ol’ Ricky, beginning with a narrow 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford before smashing four goals past both West Brom and Hull in the lead up to Christmas. Coming after Roy Keane’s departure, hastened by a miserable 4-1 home loss to Gary Megson’s Bolton, he was the good cop the Black Cats dressing room needed.
But it wasn’t to last long as Sbragia managed to win only three more games after Christmas, ending the season by losing eight of the last 10. Finishing 16th with 36 points the Mackems avoided relegation by virtue of being marginally better than Alan Shearer’s Newcastle and Phil Brown’s Hull, who won only once from the start of December.
Sbragia can now be found moulding the finest young Scottish talent at U19 level, or telling the 6ft 1inch Real Madrid player Jack Harper that he hadn’t been selected because he wanted “more height”, rather than someone who would “float all over the place.” Continue reading →
TFN Editor Hugo Greenhalgh reflects on Darren Bent’s recent tribulations after scoring on his Brighton debut…
In Greek tragedy, the term hubris refers to ‘excessive pride or self-confidence’ leading to nemesis, a moment of divine retribution. While the gods don’t appear to be shining on either Brighton or Fulham much this season, as soon as Darren Bent cupped his ear to the travelling support as he opened the scoring, it seemed inevitable it would come back to haunt him. This was the fifth time Bent has scored on his debut, having also done so for Charlton, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Fulham, but it was not enough to seal the points which Sami Hyppia’s side so badly need. Bent’s celebration seemed to galvanise Fulham and they came back to win 2-1.
Since losing the talismanic Leonardo Ulloa to Leicester, Brighton have struggled to find the net this season. Indeed, their top scorer is defender Lewis Dunk. Bent’s arrival on a one-month loan was one of great excitement, a proven goalscorer with a point to prove after being left out in the cold by Villa manager Paul Lambert. This was his first goal since February and Bent’s mind will surely be on the January window and the possibility of sealing a move back to the Premier League, although he will of course be hoping to take Brighton out of the relegation zone in the process. Continue reading →
TFN’s Greg Johnson, Hugo Greenhalgh and James Dutton welcome Jack McInroy of Yids and South London Hardcore and Rob “Typical City” Pollard onto the panel for a third live “Pubcast” at The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub, in Angel.
With Rob running late, racing across London in a taxi straight from the League Cup final, the diminished foursome chat about Spurs, anti-semitism in football and Alan Pardew’s fighting skills. Once completed, the five-piece then turn their attentions to City’s Capital One Cup win, directors of football and a footballing take on the Oscars.
The chat is interspersed with the usual frivolities, audience interaction and mind-twisting tangents to keep you and your ears entertained throughout the show.
The latest Editor’s Column from James Dutton tackles the implications of two late goals in the Premier League and next weekend’s top-of-the-table clash…
Is there a top-flight derby in England with lower quality and technical ability than Sunderland v Newcastle?
A central defensive pairing of Mike Williamson and Paul Dummett, a midfield battle between Cheick Tiote and Lee Cattermole and the continued pointlessness of Adam Johnson.
Before Fabio Borini’s stunning late winner for the hosts, it was a derby meandering toward nothingness. Suddenly the Black Cats are reinvigorated, and Newcastle fans are staring at another year wondering what on earth is going on.
Will it be the turning point of Sunderland’s season? Victory against your local rivals can create a cathartic, transformative effect around a club, and given their meek surrender at Swansea last week it no doubt removes some of the gloom that has gripped the Mackems.
But this one result against an alarmingly average Newcastle side doesn’t show that they have the necessary tools to avoid relegation. It doesn’t change the fact that Sunderland have, Crystal Palace aside, the weakest squad in the league. Continue reading →
This week’s Editor’s Column from James Dutton looks at the state of play in the Premier League, Dulwich Hamlet in the Ryman Isthmian League and the top five smoking footballers…
Seven games into the Premier League season and with the second international break upon us, the table is beginning to take shape.
At this stage of the 2012-13 season Chelsea sat above the two Manchester clubs at the summit, with Everton, Spurs, West Brom and Arsenal clinging on to their coat tails.
At the bottom sat Queens Park Rangers, whilst Norwich, Reading, Southampton, Aston Villa, Wigan and Liverpool perched precariously above them; all with less points than games played.
This year only Crystal Palace and Sunderland have less points than games played; Norwich have seven off seven and yet occupy the remaining slot in the relegation places – a year ago they’d have sat in 13th.
Charlie Bailes looks at the succession of short-term decisions that have undermined Sunderland’s progress since their promotion to the Premier League in 2007…
Sunderland’s sacking of Paolo Di Canio after only thirteen games has been viewed by many as a failure of short term thinking. Looking for a quick fix to keep them up, Sunderland turned to a manager with an unpredictable nature believing he would fire his players up enough in order to maintain their Premier League status. Di Canio achieved this, only barely keeping Sunderland three points above the relegation zone and of course beating Newcastle on their own ground.
But a poor start to the season on the pitch and alleged unrest led to Di Canio’s sacking. The Italian’s nature may be unpredictable yet many of his actions at Sunderland were entirely predictable; rash decisions, unusual methods and outward criticism of his players were something that must have been expected after his period of management at Swindon. Knowing this why did Sunderland let Di Canio work closely with Director of Football Roberto De Fanti to sign 14 players? This short term thinking has left Sunderland in a position of unrest and an almost definite relegation scrap. Yet Sunderland’s problems stem far further back than hiring Di Canio, short term thinking has long been a pitfall of the club. Continue reading →
Amassing 152 top flight appearances for four different clubs, Emerson Thome can be described as the first Brazilian journeyman on these shores. In a bumper edition of ‘The Samba Series’, we pay tribute…
Steve Beastie from Owls Alive recounts Thome’s arrival in England at Sheffield Wednesday…
When your club is building what you truly believe is a League winning side and you get wind that you’re signing a Brazilian player, any doubts you may have had turn to childish giddiness. Your mind races with thoughts of fancy footwork and legs like bees wings moving faster than the speed of sound, so a few days later when you find out the nickname for your new super smooth play maker is ‘The Wall’ those doubts resurface…
As wonderful as all their players over the decades have been, you struggle to think of an earth shattering defender, especially centre half and ‘The Wall’ quickly erases any thoughts of dancing feet.
When you finally see your ‘Brazilian Master’ and see that he’s 18 feet tall and 6 foot across the shoulders you instantly get the nickname. 18 feet tall maybe, but tanned, goateed and gorgeous he was and the ladies of Sheffield soon took an instant liking to him. For the blokes it was gonna take more than rugged good looks to persuade them… Show us what you’ve got! Continue reading →