Is it so wrong to feel a tad smug after the latest, dramatic twist in the summer managerial merry-go round? No, I don’t think so either…
Harry Redknapp’s surprise departure at Spurs has without doubt put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons and has I’m sure caused one of two Premier League chief executives to prick their ears up this morning.
Just as they thought it safe to sit back in their executive leather chairs and mull over how to spend the gigantic tranche of cash that waits them for 2013/14, good old Harry throws in a curve ball.
I can think of two, North-West based CEO’s in particular who will be willing the name ‘Daniel Levy’ not to appear on their phone anytime soon. Thankfully Messrs Bowkett and McNally can rest easy and concentrate their efforts on working their way, line by line, through Chris Hughton’s list of most wanted.
The fact that McNally and co did their business so early and so clinically should now count as a blessing, as they now have the rest of the close-season to prepare for 2012/13 with a degree of comfort and stability.
With Moyes and Martinez both in the frame the merry-go-round has plenty of rotations left one suspects before it draws to a halt. If Moyes is, indeed, the chosen one then it’s fair assume Bill Kenwright and co will again go in search of a young and hungry soul in a similar mould to Moyes.
For a summer that many predicted would be a quiet one on the managerial move front, this actually promises to be the very the opposite.
Quite where this would have left one Paul Lambert if he’d kept his powder dry for just a week or two longer is an interesting one. It’s been well documented that Daniel Levy is a fan – assisted no doubt by that great Norwich win at White Hart Lane – and so it’s therefore conceivable that a move to North London would have been a goer.
Equally, if Moyes’ extra Premier League experience had resulted in him being given the nod for the Spurs gig, it’s then conceivable that the blue half of Liverpool would have turned to Lambert.
Either way it’s fair to assume our former manager would have viewed both jobs more appealing than that at Villa.
Lots of ifs and buts … but interesting none the less.
Of course, we’ll never know what’s now going through Lambert’s mind – we’ve recently proved that we’re not very good at that particular art – and he may well view the ‘basket case’ that Villa currently appears to be on the outside as a challenge better suited to his skills.
The situation there clearly has similarities to the one he inherited in Norfolk, albeit two divisions higher.
But that’s the past … and before anyone tells me … we need to look forward.
As McNally works his way down that list of names left by Hughton – before he departed for his holiday armed with those DVDs – one suspects he’ll come across a few names that he’ll struggle to pronounce.
We’ve been told by Bowkett that the net is going to be cast wider than the British Isles this time round which coincides nicely with the arrival of Team Hughton.
For the last three seasons Lambert had clearly made a conscious decision to load his group with British based lads that naturally bought into his ethos of grit and hard work. Interestingly, the fact that the majority were in the early twenty-something age range now appears to have been part of the McNally ideology rather than one imposed by Lambert.
In Bowkett’s interview he admitted that the ‘low lying fruit’ had already been picked and that Lambert had already conceded that he would need to shop from a different aisle this summer.
As it happens it’s Chris Hughton who’ll now be pushing the shopping trolley and doing so in a market that’s he appears comfortable in. It’s already been noted that it was he who was in situ when Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa arrived at St James Park (or Sports Direct Arena or whatever) and therefore is it too much to hope one or two gems of that ilk will pitch up at Colney over the next few weeks.
The trick with signing an unpolished diamond from overseas has always been to ingratiate them in the ways of the Premier League sooner rather than later. All too often players who have positively shone in their own environment have found the hustle and bustle of the Premier League simply too much to cope with – others get there eventually, but only after having served an apprenticeship in their respective reserve team.
For a club like ours – armed with a significant, but not massive transfer pot – it’s doubtful that we can afford to accommodate these ‘apprentices’.
And so this is one of the many challenges that await Messrs Hughton and Chester this summer – how to discover that unpolished diamond who’ll hit the ground running.
Not an easy one – rather them than me – but good luck to Chris Goreham and co with the pronunciations!