Tag Archives: coventry

Mark Halsey referee Callum McManaman tackle Massadio Haidara pulled from Premier League

Ref Halsey DROPPED to League One after Haidara horror tackle at Wigan

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

01:43 GMT, 26 March 2013

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UPDATED:

07:59 GMT, 26 March 2013

Mark Halsey, the official who did not send off Callum McManaman for his high tackle on Massadio Haidara, has not been given a Barclays Premier League game to referee this weekend.

Halsey did not issue a red card to Wigan striker McManaman during his side's 2-1 win over Newcastle on March 17 because, he said later, his view of the challenge on Haidara was blocked.

Shocker: Halsey failed to punish Wigan's Callum McManaman for this 'challenge' on Massadio Haidara

Shocker: Halsey failed to punish Wigan's Callum McManaman for this 'challenge' on Massadio Haidara

Dropped: Halsey will take charge of Friday's League One clash between Coventry and Doncaster

Dropped: Halsey will take charge of Friday's League One clash between Coventry and Doncaster

Because of the international break, this weekend will be the first round of Premier League fixtures since the incident, and Halsey's only top-flight outing will be as the fourth official for Reading's trip to Arsenal.

McManaman's tackle was greeted with outrage, but could not be punished in retrospect by the Football Association because one of Halsey's two assistants saw the incident, provoking a debate about the merits of disciplinary system.

Halsey will referee Friday's npower League One game between Coventry and Doncaster.

Paul Ince is new Blackpool manager

Ince 'over the moon' as Blackpool confirm appointment of former MK Dons manager

– present

Gordon Strachan and Gavin Strachan
Coventry – 1997-2001

'It’s great to be here,' said Ince.
'Considering I’ve watched the team play for the last 14 months, it’s
strange sitting here as the manager, having obviously watched Blackpool
as a fan as well as watching my son play.

'I’m over the moon though and
delighted, it’s great to be back on the training ground and great to be
involved with, and in charge of, a great bunch of lads.

'I’ve worked with a lot of players and
the spirit and togetherness of the lads is absolutely fantastic. I’m
glad I’ve been given the opportunity by Karl Oyston.'

Ince was the latest in a long line to
have talks with Oyston.

The 45-year old has been out of work since April
2011.

However, he impressed Oyston with his knowledge of Blackpool’s strengths
and weaknesses after watching every one of their games this season.

Paul was in the crowd last week to see 21-year-old Tom score for England Under 21s in their 4-0 win over Sweden.

Back in the game: Ince's last job in management ended with the sack from Notts County in April 2011

Back in the game: Ince's last job in management ended with the sack from Notts County in April 2011

Lionheart: Ince had a top class career as a player with England, Manchester United, Liverpool and Inter Milan

Lionheart: Ince had a top class career as a player with England, Manchester United, Liverpool and Inter Milan

But Ince Snr was spotted getting a clip round the ear from wife Claire
for sitting in silent appreciation of his son's goal on the rebound late
in the first half as though he'd seen him score for England a
million times before.

Claire, by contrast, was right on her feet and jumping about in
celebration – before whacking her husband to encourage him to liven up.

Bright future: England U21 star Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading, among others

Bright future: England U21 star Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading, among others

Bright future: Young Lion Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading among others

Bright future: Young Lion Tom Ince has attracted interest from Liverpool and Reading among others

VIDEO Watch Paul Ince get a clip round the ear from his missus – for not celebrating son Tom's goal!

Jonny Evans signs new Manchester United contract

Ferguson backs Evans to lead United for next decade after defender pens new deal

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UPDATED:

13:09 GMT, 21 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson expects Jonny Evans to be a mainstay in the Manchester United defence for the next 10 years after the centre back signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal with the Old Trafford club.

The 24-year-old Northern Ireland international made his United debut as a teenager in the League Cup against Coventry in September 2007 and has now committed to the club until June 2016.

And Ferguson hopes he will remain with the club for the rest of his career.

Done deal: Jonny Evans (right) has signed a new contract at Old Trafford

Done deal: Jonny Evans (right) has signed a new contract at Old Trafford

'Jonny Evans has signed a new contract. We’re very happy
about that and it’s in keeping with our normal policy that when the younger
players get to the second last year of their contract we have to do something
about it,' Ferguson said.

'He’s had a fantastic career for us, progressing all the
time. He’s had one or two injury situations that are hopefully behind him now.
He’s fit for Sunday’s game [against Swansea].

'He fought his way in with his performances last year and when him and Rio played consistently our results improved. We spoke about losing the goals against Manchester City and the leaking of goals at that particular time and those two playing regularly and improved that.

Main man: Evans has grown into his defensive role at Manchester United

Main man: Evans has grown into his defensive role at Manchester United

'Jonny has been
with us since he was a kid. When he was 12 he was at our school of
excellence in Belfast and he always had a talent. When he was younger I
wasn’t sure if he’d be a midfielder or a centre-back because he was a
really good footballer.

'He’s
played over 140 games now and he is established but he’s still young. A
centre-back at 24, he should play for the next 10 years and hopefully
it’s at United.'

Evans added: 'I'm delighted to sign my new contract. I am so proud to play for such a great club, and there's no better feeling than playing football in this team and winning games.'

He added: 'I would love to play here throughout the rest of my career.'

Peter Ndlovu "out of danger" after horror car crash kills his brother Adam Ndlovu

Coventry legend Ndlovu 'out of danger' after fatal car crash kills his brother

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UPDATED:

21:01 GMT, 16 December 2012

Former Premier League forward Peter Ndlovu was in a Bulawayo hospital with serious injuries on Sunday night after a car crash which claimed the life of his brother and fellow Zimbabwe footballer Adam.

Peter Ndlovu, 39, had playing spells in England with Coventry, for whom he starred in the top flight, plus Birmingham, Huddersfield and Sheffield United, before returning to African club football in 2004.

The crash that caused his brother's death occurred late last night. The skilful attacker left Highlanders in his homeland to join Coventry in 1991, and stayed at Highfield Road until 1997.

Horror: The smashed-up BMW X5 on the side of the road that was reportedly driven by Adam Ndlovu

Horror: The smashed-up BMW X5 on the side of the road that was reportedly driven by Adam Ndlovu

Horror: The smashed-up BMW X5 on the side of the road that was reportedly driven by Adam Ndlovu

A statement from the club, now in
npower League One, read: 'Coventry City Football Club is saddened to
hear of a tragic road accident in Zimbabwe that has left former striker
Peter Ndlovu in a critical condition and claimed the life of his brother
Adam.

'It has been reported that both were
travelling from an away match between Chicken Inn FC and a local side
when Ndlovu's car suffered a tyre blow-out which caused the car to veer
off the road 20 kilometres outside Victoria Falls.

'Ndlovu achieved iconic status during
his six years with the Sky Blues where he netted 39 goals in 176
(league) appearances for the club.

'Coventry City sends its best wishes and condolences to the Ndlovu family who will be in our thoughts.'

Zimbabwean media carried pictures of a
severely damaged car, reported to have been the vehicle carrying the
Ndlovu brothers home from a football match.

A spokeswoman for the Mater Dei
Hospital in Bulawayo, where Peter Ndlovu was being treated, said she
could offer no details of his condition, following reports he had broken
both legs.

Legend: Peter Ndlovu

Legend: Peter Ndlovu

Hero: Peter Ndlovu starred for Coventry (left) in the Premier League before joining Birmingham

Ndlovu's former agent Winston
Makamure told BBC Sport: 'Peter is now out of danger. He is now
conscious and is communicating. 'He has internal injuries, head
injuries, broken ribs and a broken leg.'

Adam Ndlovu, who was 42 years old,
also began his playing career with Highlanders before moving to Europe,
in his case spending seven years in Switzerland between 1994 and 2001,
culminating in a spell with FC Zurich.

Peter Ndlovu's second club in
England was Championship side Birmingham, who released a statement which
read: 'The thoughts of everyone associated with Birmingham City
Football Club are with Peter Ndlovu and his family following news of a
serious car crash in Zimbabwe.

'Peter was a very popular player during his time at St Andrew's and we hope he pulls through this difficult time.'

Tragedy: Adam Ndlovu - who played for Zimbabwe - died in the car crash

Tragedy: Adam Ndlovu – who played for Zimbabwe – died in the car crash

Ndlovu made 137 appearances and
netted 28 times in all competitions for the Blues. He joined
Huddersfield on loan over the winter of 2000-01, scoring four goals in
six games for the Yorkshire club, and left Birmingham on a permanent
basis in February 2001 when he joined Sheffield United on a free.

He played 154 times for the Bramall
Lane club, scoring 29 goals, and left them in July 2004 when he returned
to African club football.

The Blades released a statement on
their official Twitter feed which read: 'Our thoughts are with former
player Peter Ndlovu, who has been critically injured in a car accident
in his native Zimbabwe.'

Peter Ndlovu was capped 100 times by
Zimbabwe, and his country's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, sent his
condolences to the family via his official Twitter account.

'I am deeply saddened at the passing
on of soccer legend, Adam Ndlovu, who was taken away from us in the
horror crash that left his young brother, Peter, in hospital,'
Tsvangirai said.

'I wish Peter a speedy recovery.
'Adam and Peter were part of our national football Dream Team in the
1990s and have continued to impart their skills to other young
Zimbabwean footballers. They have made a significant contribution to
culture in Zimbabwe.

'My prayers are with the Ndlovu
family, the football fraternity and the nation at this sad loss. 'On
behalf of my Office, my family and on my own behalf, I join with so many
others who knew Adam, in offering our deepest sympathy on his passing.'

VIDEO: A classic Peter Ndlovu goal from 1995 – a contender for MOTD goal of the season…

Peter Ndlovu fighting for his life after horror car crash kills his brother Adam Ndlovu

Coventry legend Ndlovu fighting for his life after horror car crash kills his brother

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UPDATED:

13:46 GMT, 16 December 2012

Former Coventry star Peter Ndlovu is in a critical condition in hospital after a horror car crash which claimed the life of his brother.

Ndlovu, who also played for Birmingham, Sheffield United and Huddersfield during a 13-year career in England, is in a coma after his sports car crashed in Zimbabwe.

Adam Ndlovu, also a former footballer who played for Zimbabwe, died in the incident near Victoria Falls.

Horror: The smashed-up BMW X5 on the side of the road that was reportedly driven by Adam Ndlovu

Horror: The smashed-up BMW X5 on the side of the road that was reportedly driven by Adam Ndlovu

Horror: The smashed-up BMW X5 on the side of the road that was reportedly driven by Adam Ndlovu

Pictures from the scene of the crash show the smashed-up front of the BMW X5 by the side of the road. According to reports in Zimbabwe, Adam was driving the car as they returned from watching a local match.

Peter Ndlovu was a favourite among
Coventry fans during the 90s. He scored 39 goals in 176 matches before
leaving for Birmingham. He had a short loan spell at Huddersfield before
joining Sheffield United.

Coventry wrote on Twitter: 'All our thoughts and wishes go out to former Sky Blue Peter Ndlovu and his family. Keep strong Nuddy.'

A
tweet from the Blades read: 'Our thoughts are with former player Peter
Ndlovu, who has been critically injured in a car accident in his native
Zimbabwe.'

Legend: Peter Ndlovu

Legend: Peter Ndlovu

Hero: Peter Ndlovu starred for Coventry (left) in the Premier League before joining Birmingham

Tragedy: Adam Ndlovu - who played for Zimbabwe - died in the car crash

Tragedy: Adam Ndlovu – who played for Zimbabwe – died in the car crash

Birmingham's own statement read: 'The thoughts of everyone associated with Birmingham City Football Club are with Peter Ndlovu and his family following news of a serious car crash in Zimbabwe. Peter was a very popular player during his time at St Andrew's and we hope he pulls through this difficult time.'

Former Birmingham co-owner David Gold tweeted: 'Peter Ndlovu is one of the nicest footballers I ever met. We are all thinking of you Peter, get well soon.'

Former Coventry team-mate Darren Huckerby wrote: 'Terrible news about Peter Ndlovu and his brother, hope he pulls through.'

Mick Quinn added: 'Sad news about my former team-mate Peter Ndlovu involved in a car crash. He is in a coma, sadly brother Adam dead, thoughts and prayers to them.'

Peter has been working as a coach for the Zimbabwe Young Warriors Under 23 team.

VIDEO: A classic Peter Ndlovu goal from 1995 – a contender for MOTD goal of the season…

Kevin Kilbane on retiring from football: I wouldn"t change a thing

Kevin Kilbane: After more than 700 games, I'm calling it a day… but I wouldn't change anything

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UPDATED:

15:14 GMT, 8 December 2012

This is the day I have been dreading. I’m retiring and hanging up the boots after nearly 20 years. I am no longer a professional footballer.

It seems strange to say it after all these years but the body and the mind have had enough. I know it’s time.

The last year, battling a back injury and getting fit for a new season with Coventry City, has been a real slog. It’s just not much fun anymore.

I’d lost that competitive edge to go to training every day. From being a kid, and certainly throughout my professional career, I have treated every training session like it was my last. But that feeling has gone. I don’t have that hunger anymore.

I know it’s the right decision for me, and my family, and, if there is one consolation, I’m pleased it has been in my hands. Over the years, so many team-mates and good friends, some as young as 18, some on their early 20s, lads so full of hope, have had their careers ended in an instant. They go into one more routine game, and bang. It’s all over.

A new beginning: Kevin Kilbane has retired from football

A new beginning: Kevin Kilbane has retired from football

I’ve played more than 700 games, represented my country more than 100 times, including a run, of which I am very proud, of 66 consecutive competitive appearances. I couldn’t believe it when it was happening to me. I still can’t believe I have been so lucky.

I honestly couldn’t thank Coventry City enough for all their understanding over the last few weeks. I joined the club with really high hopes in the summer and was honoured to be made captain but things haven’t worked out like I hoped or planned. I know as well as most that’s just the way football goes.

Most importantly, after too many nights, weeks and months away from them, I want to be near my family. I can’t do that fighting against the tide in the Midlands when my heart just isn’t in it.

When I think back to the sacrifices I have made over the years, particularly representing my country, I don’t regret them. I was the only senior player who went to the States with Steve Staunton six years ago, but it was the right thing to do because I was playing for Ireland. I was captain on that tour. It’s what I dreamed of when I was wearing my Opel shirt at home in Preston in 1988.

It’s time to put me and the family first now.

My career started at Preston North End, my home-town club. I joined at 10, became an apprentice at 16 and made my debut two years later.

Calling it a day: Kilbane won 110 Republic of Ireland caps

Calling it a day: Kilbane won 110 Republic of Ireland caps

I still remember my debut. It was Plainmoor, Torquay United, September 1995, a boiling hot day on the coast. Gary Peters was manager, he named me in the squad the day before we set off, I warmed up for the entire game I was so nervous.

He put me on the for the last 20 minutes, and we won 4-0. Although I am pretty sure I came away thinking `this is a breeze’, I never felt I had made it. I was delighted to be a professional footballer and I just wanted to work hard every day to make sure it was never taken away from me. And I knew it was what I had to do.

I had a good grounding because my older brother Farrell, who also called it a day at the end of last season after a good career as a semi-pro, had been released by Preston while I was at the club.

Preston won the third division that season and of course it was just an amazing start for me. I only played about a dozen games, usually from the bench, but I just loved every minute of being a part of the dressing room.

Leaving wasn’t easy. But when West Brom came in with a then club record fee of 1million, there was really no choice.

It was very hard to start with, living away from home for the first time and living in a strange city. I was all over the place, but Ray Harford was one of the best coaches I’ve worked with and he just believed in me. Ray and his successor Denis Smith let me play with the most freedom I’ve enjoyed in my career.

A step up: Kilbane is honest about his spell on Wearside

A step up: Kilbane is honest about his spell on Wearside

Sunderland was a big move and I know I was not good enough. It’s not a problem to admit it because it’s a fact.

I loved my time in the north east, made some friends for life, and I totally understand their love of football. I really do get it which is why I love the fans up there so much.

But I didn’t really settle quickly enough on the pitch and my best season was probably when we went down, which is no benefit whatsoever.

I was sorry to leave, especially as the club and I really had no choice after relegation, but Everton was probably my best spell. And then Wigan, and my favourite club game, the dramatic last day when we beat Sheffield United to stay up in the Premier League. I had a hand in both goals, I remember that.

And where do I start with the Ireland memories

Playing in the 2002 World Cup Finals was the greatest, strangest and most painful experience in my career, all rolled into one incredible month.

We got there thanks to that win over Holland, and that’s my favourite game. I was right behind Jason when he scored and just ran after him, caught him quite easily by the touchline because he wasn’t the fastest. The celebrations back at the airport hotel, after Lillies, were the best ever – and there have been a few.

I watched the Germany game on ESPN Classic the other night. We were a good side you know, even without Roy Keane. My memory of that night is the party back at the team hotel, with the wives, families and supporters staying there, Noel O’Reilly on the banjo, everyone getting up to sing a song. Late finish.

We should have beaten Spain to get to the quarter-finals. I know I should have scored. I can’t erase the mis-hit from Ian Harte’s saved penalty, and my own penalty miss in the shoot-out. I can still close my eyes and see them, feel the touches off my left foot. Miss every time.

Painful memory: Kilbane watches as Ian Harte sees his penalty saved by Iker Casillas

Painful memory: Kilbane watches as Ian Harte sees his penalty saved by Iker Casillas

I’ve had my fair share of stick over the years, including from my own supporters.

No sports psychologist in the world can prepare a player for that abuse. It doesn’t matter whether it is one bloke shouting at you as you take a throw-in, or thousands booing you and cheering your substitution. It is hard to take because it’s you. They just do not like you.

No one likes criticism in any walk of life, but I learned to deal with it and ignore it, laugh it off. It’s the only way because you have to be stronger.
The funny thing is, I really wouldn’t change anything in my career, and I include all the stick.

Perhaps it goes back to my upbringing. When you’ve had Sam Allardyce, Gary Peters and John Beck bellowing at you as a young kid, stick from Sunderland fans is water off a duck’s back. With Big Sam one withering look was enough to make your blood run cold.

I’ll miss so much about playing but now I am looking forward to new challenges, long lie-ins and daytime television.

I’m not writing off coaching. I loved working with the reserves and academy players at Hull City last season with Nick Barmby as manager and sadly the role, which I had big plans for, was taken away when Nick was sacked and Steve Bruce gave it to someone else. And then I was sent to Coventry…

I’ve got my UEFA A and B licences, I know I love coaching, but it’s tough to get the work. I have certainly not ruled it out for the future.

My immediate future is to get more involved in work as patron of Downs Syndrome Association and work on my autobiography, which will be published next autumn in aid of the UK-based charity.

I will also be concentrating on the media work, which I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of years, and hopefully I can be successful. It is a new responsibility and I have to view games differently but I like that idea very much.

It starts with the column next week in the Irish Daily Mail and a game for BBC Radio 5 live back at Everton tomorrow. I can’t wait.

Kevin Kilbane retires from football

Former Ireland and Everton star Kilbane retires from football after stint at Coventry

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UPDATED:

00:55 GMT, 8 December 2012

Former Republic of Ireland international Kevin Kilbane has announced his retirement from football.

The 35-year-old has ended his career with League One Coventry City.

Kilbane was named Coventry captain when Andy Thorn signed him on a free transfer but in the summer Kilbane has now decided to call an end to his nine-club, 710 club and international appearances career.

Retired: Kevin Kilbane has quit football

Retired: Kevin Kilbane has quit football

The midfielder, who made his debut aged 18 for home-town club Preston North End in 1998, returned after nearly a year out with the back injury which ended his international career and a record consecutive run of 66 competitive games, two years ago.

He said: 'I know it’s the right decision for me, and my family, and, if there is one consolation, I’m pleased it has been in my hands. A lot of good friends haven’t had the privilege because injury has ended their careers.

'When I think back to the sacrifices I have made over the years, particularly representing my country, I don’t regret them.

'Most importantly, after too many nights, weeks and months away from them, I want to be near my family. It’s time to put me and the family first now.

'I would like to thank the directors, coaching staff, players and supporters at Coventry City Football Club for my brief time at the Club and wish them all the best for the future’.

Star man: Kilbane was a well-established member of the Ireland setup

Star man: Kilbane was a well-established member of the Ireland setup

Sky Blues director Steve Waggot said: 'Kevin has been a great professional throughout his career and we would like to thank him for his services to the Club and wish him all the very best in whatever he decides to do in the future'.

Kilbane, who made 110 appearances for Ireland, behind only Shay Given and Robbie Keane, will initially concentrate on a media career and will join the Irish Daily Mail as a weekly columnist from today.

He will also work with BBC 5 live. Kilbane has UEFA A and B licences and has not ruled out a return to coaching after a brief stint with Hull City reserves last season.

He also plans to increase his profile as patron of the Downs Syndrome Association and is writing his autobiography in aid of the charity.

Video: Ryan Giggs best 11 goals for Manchester United

Video: Happy birthday, Ryan… the Welsh wizard's top 10 goals for Manchester United

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UPDATED:

13:36 GMT, 29 November 2012

Ryan Giggs is celebrates his 39th birthday today and the Manchester United winger has played in every Premier League season since its inception in 1992. To celebrate the No 11's birthday, Sportsmail looks back at his best 10 goals over his glittering career.

Arsenal, April 1999

The greatest Giggs goal of all. United fans will never forget that run from inside his own half, that left-foot finish from a tight angle and that hairy chest. It wasn’t just the goal but the part it played in settling a titanic FA Cup semi-final replay and defining United’s Treble season.

Coventry City, December 1992

There seemed to be little danger when Coventry cleared the ball to the edge of their own penalty box but, with his back to goal, Giggs took it down with the first touch of his left foot and turned to fire a magnificent swerving shot into the top corner of Jonathan Gould’s goal.

Tottenham, September 1992

The floppy-haired teenager truly announced his arrival on the big stage by taking the ball from one Spurs defender, nutmegging another, going round goalkeeper Ian Walker and lashing a shot past a third defender desperately trying to cover the near post.

Blackburn Rovers, May 1993

The night United celebrated their first Premier League title and what a way to do it. Blackburn were threatening to spoil the party when Giggs stepped up to take a freekick 30 yards from goal and sent it soaring over the wall and into the top corner with Bobby Mimms helpless.

Queens Park Rangers, February 1994

Poor old Ray Wilkins had no chance as Giggs took the ball away from the veteran midfielder and left Darren Peacock flat on his backside. Four QPR defenders pursued the youngster and were left strewn about the penalty box as he lifted the ball over Jan Stejsdal.

Juventus, October 1997

Giggs scored the decisive goal in five against a Juventus side featuring Zidane and Del Piero, running onto a pass from Teddy Sheringham in the 89th minute of a Champions League tie at Old Trafford and bursting past his marker before leaving Angelo Peruzzi grasping at air with another fantastic left-foot finish.

Chelsea 21st October 1995

Setting off from the halfway line, Giggs teased three Chelsea defenders before jinking his way into the penalty box, leaving them staggering in his wake. Dmitri Kharin came out to try and narrow the angle but Giggs was there first to prod the ball home.

Coventry City, January 1997

United's attack appeared to have broken down when Dennis Irwin was tackled 25 yards from goal. But Giggs won the ball back with a perfect sliding challenge and then instinctively curled a wonderful effort with his weaker right foot beyond Steve Ogrizovic and into the top corner.

Manchester City, April 1996

Twice City had pegged United back in the Manchester derby at Maine Road when Eric Cantona slipped the ball into Giggs. Keith Curle made the fatal mistake of not closing him down, and the young winger hammered a shot inside Eike Immel’s near post. The United fans didn’t even realise Giggs had scored until he wheeled away backwards in celebration.

Barnsley, October 1997

United were already well on their way to a 7-0 thrashing of the Premier League newcomers at Old Trafford when Giggs cut infield past two Barnsley defenders and despatched an unstoppable effort that gave the keeper no chance. Another demonstration that he’s half decent with his right foot as well.

Lee Clark and Nigel Clough up against it: The Midlander

Football is a results business… but it's never that clear cut for Clark and Clough

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UPDATED:

18:02 GMT, 15 November 2012

Results define a manager's success. Pretty obvious, that.

But perhaps following on from last week's theme regarding Martin O'Neill, it might be worth bearing that in mind when the relative merits of two of the region's other managers are discussed.

I'm referring to Birmingham City's Lee Clark and Derby County's Nigel Clough.

Up against it: Birmingham manager Lee Clark has not made the best of starts at St Andrew's

Up against it: Birmingham manager Lee Clark has not made the best of starts at St Andrew's

More from Neil Moxley…

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The Midlander: Pearson deserves so much more as Leicester target the Premier League
12/10/12

The Midlander: Bent mystery at Villa making life under Lambert very interesting
04/10/12

The Midlander: Baggies crashed out, but at least they took the Capital One Cup seriously
27/09/12

The Midlander: Dan the Man will be a tough act to follow at West Brom
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The Midlander: Birmingham need to avoid Paladini for their own good
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07/09/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

We'll take a look at Clark first. Now, I'll be the first to admit that the Geordie's reign hasn't started well.

It's difficult to erase that performance against Barnsley from the memory, even now, two months later.

But it always struck me as odd why a manager who had a couple of years to size up players in League One wouldn't go there to breathe some excitement into a club in the Championship.

It would seem logical that Clark would pluck a couple of hungry youngsters from the third tier and give them a chance at a higher level.

Supporters of any club love to see players get a chance to prove themselves and here was an obvious opportunity to blood a couple.

Cash is too tight to mention at St Andrew's – a point I'll come onto in a minute – but the likes of Hayden Mullins, Darren Ambrose and Peter Lovenkrands aren't playing for nothing.

Hello, these are ex-Premier League players. And Ambrose cost a transfer fee, too.

It would have made sense for Clark therefore to have given a couple more, such as Swindon Town's Paul Caddis, the chance to earn themselves a reasonable increase in pay and the opportunity to advance their careers at a higher level.

Not so. Not so because the powers-that-be deemed that Clark should only sign players they had actually heard of.

Therefore, those with a Premier League profile were always going to find a way to St Andrew's, irrespective of whether they were, in fact, the type of players that the Geordie wanted in the first place.

Now, they might well have been. But
surely a manager has to have a say over who he brings into the club
After all, it's his neck on the chopping block.

Furthermore, evidence suggests that
the reason Clark was not able to re-sign Barry Ferguson was because
Fleetwood Town put together a more attractive package than the Blues for
the Carling Cup winner's services.

Hands tied: Derby manager Nigel Clough is also in a difficult position at times

Hands tied: Derby manager Nigel Clough is also in a difficult position at times

I know. Incredible, isn't it But that's the state of the club finances at the moment. Critical.

Which is why, in the absence of a credible buyer, (my hopes of substantial investment from overseas have diminished as the party concerned appears to have cooled any interest) the boost of new owners would at least bring an air of positivity to the place.

Over at Pride Park, Clough will not be in the least bit surprised that he once more finds his hands tied in the transfer market.

Despite the denials from the manager, my understanding is that the club has to make seven-figure cost savings in the New Year.

That means one of his youngsters – in all likelihood Will Hughes – will be sacrificed.

It is difficult for supporters to understand and appreciate the goings-on behind the scenes at any football club as the finances aren't always taken into consideration when the any boss, Clough in particular, has had a difficult job to do.

Only a horrible season in 2010-11 – one in which the Rams were beset by an horrendous injury-list – has he failed to improve the club's league position.

Supporters may think that four years is sufficient to make a mark. They might have a point. But the manager has had to operate against a backdrop of financial difficulty.

No return: Boss Lee Clark was unable to get Barry Ferguson back in a Birmingham shirt

No return: Boss Lee Clark was unable to get Barry Ferguson back in a Birmingham shirt

For instance, where is the logic in selling Jason Shackell, if Clough did not have to

Shaun Barker had a long-term injury. Before Shackell's knock it appeared that the Rams finally had a capable Championship pairing at centre-half.

But Shackell disappears to Burnley and, for the same money, Connor Sammon is recruited from Wigan.

Something doesn't quite add up. But – and here is the rub – if managers speak out about those problems they are immediately hauled in front of their superiors and told to keep their mouths shut – or they can be found in breach of their contract for talking about confidential business in public.

It's why neither Clark nor Clough will break ranks. Even if he the latter has to find 1.8m, he will remain tight-lipped and refuse to moan about his lot.

Price to pay: Youngster Will Hughes (left) could be sacrificed at Derby

Price to pay: Youngster Will Hughes (left) could be sacrificed at Derby

The alternative for both is to speak out, thereby jeopardising their position and give their own bosses the window of opportunity to sack them.

It is, after all, far easier to remove one manager than it is to dump and entire team of players.

In some ways, it's a classic middle-management problem, taking flak from all sides, yet you are still expected to achieve results.

So, even though any manager has to stand by his results on a Saturday afternoon, they may not paint an accurate picture.

In the oh-so-murky world of football, it's left to the rest of us to join the dots as best we can.

Phil Brown set for Hartlepool job

Former Hull and Preston boss Brown to be unveiled by League One strugglers Hartlepool

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UPDATED:

22:31 GMT, 12 November 2012

Former Hull boss Phil Brown is set to be unveiled as the new manager of bottom-placed League One side Hartlepool United on Tuesday.

Brown is staying in Hartlepool on Monday night having watched their reserves beat Gateshead reserves 2-1 with Brian Horton – his former No 2 at Hull who is expected to join him at Victoria Park.

The 53-year-old – first interviewed for the job two weeks ago – will hold further talks on Tuesday but is expected to be announced before the day is out.

New job: Phil Brown is set to take over at Hartlepool

New job: Phil Brown is set to take over at Hartlepool

Hartlepool, nine points adrift of
safety and without a win in 16 games all competitions, have been
managerless since the departure of Neale Cooper last month.

The club have chosen Brown
over a list of candidates including Craig Short, Colin Cooper and Sailsbury City boss Darrell Clarke.

South Shields-born Brown played more than 250 games for Hartlepool – his first club – and he remains a popular figure at Victoria Park.

Brown has been out of a job since leaving Preston in December 2011 after a disappointing 11-month spell in charge.

He won promotion to the Premier League with Hull in 2008 via the play-offs but was sacked after four years at the club during their relegation season in 2010.

Brown should be unveiled in time to prepare his new side for the visit of Coventry on Saturday.