A brief affair...

Tuesday, 2 February 2010 ·

For years, many have complained at the lack of available talent amongst British coaching staff and that of the good coaches working in the lower leagues, an extremely small amount are given the chance to try their luck at a bigger club or a more difficult league. So it came as a surprise this season when, after sacking previous manager Darren Ferguson (who had achieved a remarkable feat of back-to-back promotions) the club opted to appoint a manager from outside the Football League; the impressive Kettering boss, Mark Cooper.

Mr Cooper certainly impressed Posh owner, Darragh MacAnthony, who was reported as saying he was impressed with Cooper’s study of sixteen DVDs and this was enough for the owner of the Posh to bravely state that this was a positive new era for the club. Diligent preparation for interview aside, what other credentials did the former Kettering boss have that could back up such a glowing statement? His record for Kettering was excellent (forgetting the standard of the league he plied his trade in) with a 57.41% win ratio from 108 games. Not bad.
Starting at Peterborough United, Cooper was tasked with dragging a club out of a relegation fight that many thought they would struggle to get out of due to the poor quality of the squad for the Championship. But only one win from thirteen games proved too much for the board who, obviously felt that, jumping four divisions was too much for Mark Cooper.
But how can someone prove themselves if they are not given the time to do so? Thirteen games is not enough. They were already in the relegation zone, perhaps Paul Daniels may have been a wiser appointment. Then again, he only does tricks, not magic. And Debbie McGee is a bit of a distraction. On second thoughts - maybe the Chairman should just have thought a little harder first before being impressed with someone's DVD collection.
There are not too many teams that have escaped relegation after changing managers midway through a season. There are certainly not any that I can think of that have escaped relegation after changing their manager TWICE in the same season. Come to think of it, are there any that have changed their manager this many times before the beginning of February?
Having spent a considerable amount of his own cash building a squad his managers thought would be competitive, it is the owner’s choice to dispense with any component part that is not working. But football is not business; you cannot just replace a broken part/crappy worker and expect the new one to work fine. Any coach will tell you that this approach will only lead to trouble. The trouble is, Posh may have just booked their ticket back to League One.

Graham Matheson

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