Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Round them up (Updated)


For the second day in a row Kilmarnock take me at my word.

They've just announced Tommy McLean as interim manager probably until the end of the season.

Yes. That Tommy McLean.

The background

With the dust now settling on Jim Jefferies’ departure from Rugby Park (predicted on this site – not that it took Derren Brown to see where the dysfunctional Kilmarnock family were heading) we suddenly find ourselves with a quarter of the SPL looking for new managers.

Dundee United seem to have successfully courted Pat Fenlon only to discover at the last minute that the dowry Bohemians were after was too big a price to pay. Maybe Stephen Thompson shouldn’t have made such a big deal about compensation from the SFA after all.

Having had a rather bumpy ride under Jim Gannon, Motherwell will be wary of any hurried choices and, in all likelihood, any choices from leftfield. With that in mind I fancy experience over enthusiasm. Could we see Craig Brown retain the role until the end of the season with, perhaps, a younger coach ready to step up in the summer as Brown moves upstairs? I’d not bet against it.

Jim Jefferies sudden availability will have made Motherwell and Dundee United sit up and take notice. I’d pick him as a front runner for the Tannadice job where he’ll offer a safe pair of hands with the first team and bring in more experience to oversee the youth policy that Craig Levein had just revolutionised.

Jimmy Calderwood is also hunting around for gainful employment and might be interesting Kilmarnock. On the other hand the prodigal son, Bobby Williamson, might be looking for a way to get of his stint as Ugandan national coach. Might he be making noises about a return to Rugby Park?

So, depressingly, the usual suspects make the longlist. Jefferies, Calderwood, Brown, Williamson. It’s almost like the last decade hasn’t happened.

But SPL boardrooms are full of fear. What most chairmen crave is dull safety. Sixth place would leave most of them beaming. It’s often forgotten that despite the Thompson clan’s complete trust in Levein he couldn’t get them higher than fifth place in the league.

Our directors have become 1950’s housewives, forever choosing solid respectability over the chance of excitement.

And so the incestuous little world of the Scottish football manager continues. That these attitudes are sucking the life out of our game is ignored because being safe is all that matters.

Maybe they’ll surprise me. But I can’t see United, Motherwell or Kilmarnock appointing anyone who’s not Scottish and who isn’t over 50.

Watch this space.

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