The summer’s managerial merry-go-round spun wildly on today with Latics supremo Dave Whelan today throwing his thoughts into the fray – in particular, where Wigan boss Roberto Martinez might be heading next.
And it wasn’t back down the M6 to the two vacancies that currently exist in the Midlands where Roy Hodgson’s exit for the England job and Alex McLeish’s exit full-stop leaves West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa both seeking a new man at the helm.
All of which, of course, has found City’s Paul Lambert somewhere near the centre of this summer’s speculation storm. Since securing Norwich’s place back in the Premier League next season, the Scot’s position has been diplomatic-stroke-non-committal in terms of his future plans.
Nothing, one senses, will happen before next Tuesday night’s visit of Celtic for Adam Drury’s Testimonial Match. Once that final ‘do’ of the season is out of the way, anything could happen.
Kenny Dalglish’s departure at Anfield yesterday has also thrown a very large cat amongst the Premier League pigeons with Whelan clearly feeling that his man was worthy of greater things than what may await at either The Hawthorns or Villa Park.
Liverpool would suit the Spaniard just fine, said the Wigan owner.
Whether Liverpool supporters would see the likeable Latics boss as ‘The One’ is another matter. The feeling on Merseyside was that the Reds required someone of far greater European standing and experience – an Andre-Villas Boas or a Juergen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, for example.
“I know there is talk of him going to West Brom and talk of him going to Aston Villa, but I don’t think he will go anywhere like that,” said Whelan, who has been something of a father-figure to Martinez after he first arrived as a player in Lancashire in 1995.
Whelan has long insisted Martinez is bound for managerial greatness; his next step, however, might not come this summer.
“I believe we will keep him. There are much, much bigger clubs than Aston Villa and West Brom about. I’m resigned to losing him but not just yet,” said Whelan.
“Liverpool is such a wonderful club and it’s a club I’ve always had great respect for – it is the type of club Roberto will go to in the end.”
‘In the end…’ is probably the key phrase. And minus Dalglish in an ‘upstairs role’, Lambert too might find himself having to wait for the big phone call.
For their part Liverpool were insisting that they would not be rushed into making any appointment; for the club’s US-based owners – far happier pondering a new baseball coach in their own backyard than picking their way through the high, European politics of a Premier League appointment – it is going to be a testing time.
“What we want is the best, what we don’t want is to choose quickly or choose because there’s a time pressure,” the club’s managing director, Ian Ayre, told www.liverpoolfc.tv today.
The fact that the club ditched their ‘director of football’ before the end of the season merely adds to the list of vacancies at Anfield.
“It’ll be about finding the right person who can do the best job for Liverpool Football Club,” added Ayre.
“I’ll wait and see…” was one of the lines to emerge from Lambert’s final post-match Press conference of the season, with the Canary chief confirming that the next big date in his diary was a night out with the Bhoys next Tuesday night.
“I’ll get that Celtic game out of the way,” said Lambert, quizzed as to whether he will reward himself with a little break this summer after three, frantic – albeit fantastic – years at the helm.
“I’ll enjoy that. I’ve got some really fond memories of playing there; I had some great, great years there,” said the former Celtic star, guaranteed an equally warm reception by the thousands of Bhoys fans heading for Norfolk for Drury’s big night.
“And I’ve some big friends there that I will see on that day,” he added, Celtic boss Neil Lennon prominent among them.
“But the main thing is that Adam (Drury) gets a game that I think he deserves.”