Smart
Mon 19 March 2007

12 months is a long time in Football...

Around this time last year, the FA confirmed that Sven Goran Erikson would be replaced as coach of the England National football team. Naturally, the question of who to replace him with was on every England fans mind, along with a second dilemma.

After most of the paying public decided that they were taken for a ride be Sven, the next question was "Should we have another foreign coach, or an Englishmen?" The overhelming concensus was to select an English manager - but who?

Alan Pardew, fairly new to management at newly promoted West Ham? Alan Curbishley, who had magnificently managed to win nothing at Charlton in his 50 year spell? Manchester City's Stuart Pearce, another newbie, who embodies the bulldog spirit that most fans like to see - hence his nickname 'Psycho'? It's either that or he looks like Norman Bates. How about 'Big' Sam Allardyce of Bolton? Big by name...

As we all know, Middlesborough's Steve McLaren got the job, not long after an embarassing defeat at Arsenal. His UEFA Cup run must have swung it.

So a year on, how have the other 'challengers' faired?

Well Alan Pardew may have the 'honour' of managing two of the clubs relegated in the same season. Things went the way of the pear after the FA Cup Final and he was sacked. Thanks to the Woolwich Ferry, he soon found himself at the 'Family Club' - aka Charlton - who's league position was worse than that the club he had just left. West Ham are currently 19th in the table, Charlton 18th - and both are in with a good chance of winning a trip to clubs such as Plymouth, Stoke and Ipswich next season.

Alan Curbishley, who left Charlton in the summer, was Pardew's replacement at West Ham. After a succesful first game against Manchester United, he then managed to carry on where Alan Pardew left off. To be fair, he did even better, managing to take West Ham to the foot of the Premiership at one point.

Stuart Pearce's time at Man City is up. Well, it will be at the end of the season. Flirting with relegation isnt winning the punters over in the blue part of Manchester. In fact, before the recent game against Chelsea, some fans were asking for Kevin Keegan back. Christ, you know things are bad when you want the tactically inept to replace your current manager.

That leaves Big Samuel of Bolton, and for once we have a CV that isnt littered with talk of relegation. Bolton currently sit in fifth place in the Premiership and you cant really say its a fluke either. They arent exactly new to the higher realms of the league table as in the past 3 seasons they have finished 8th, 6th and 8th. Not exactly jaw dropping statistics, but then again, they arent a one season wonder either.

So a year on, its still Sam Allardyce who has the best record, including that of the current England Managers. Even then, however, it still strikes me as being the best of a bad bunch.

With that in mind, would you begrudge another foreign coach of the England team?

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