Upsetting the established order

by Trevor Keane

Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos.

Heath Ledger’s fictional character the Joker wreaked havoc on Gotham City in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 the Dark Knight. His challenge to the established order, while ultimately failing in the long run, ruffled feathers and forced the hero of the piece, Batman, to take an unconventional route to restore peace.

While the Premier League is far from a fictional city overrun by crime lords it is on the brink of a new order. The established order has been upset and there is the potential for the football equivalent of chaos to ensue.

Come August, for the first time since its inception, the Premier League will be without Sir Alex Ferguson in a dugout. The changing of the guard at Old Trafford has seen the long serving Scot move upstairs with the not so unknown David Moyes assuming what is a very large mantle.

However Manchester United are not the only side set for a change of manager with cross town rivals also on the lookout, third place Chelsea poised to bring back Jose Mourinho and sixth place Everton searching for another up and coming manager to replace Moyes.

So far that’s four of this season’s top six that will have new bosses in place for the 2013/2014 season.

However an extraordinary, albeit not inevitable, set of circumstances could mean that all of this season’s top six club’s could begin the next season with new managers.

We have already mentioned the changing of the guard at Manchester United. The ramifications of which being that Everton are on the lookout for their first manager in 11 seasons.
FA cup winning Roberto Martinez is the early favourite with Michael Laudrup and Neil Lennon both of whom have also enjoyed successful seasons in the mix.

Stamford Bridge will usher in their 12th manager since 1998 in the summer although the return of the “Special One”, Jose Mourinho is sure to be welcomed by fans and players alike.

The departure of Portuguese man from Real Madrid could bring problems for both Tottenham and Arsenal with Andreas Villas-Boas and Arsene Wenger both frequently linked with a move to Spain.

Indeed Wenger is proving a popular man this weather with big spending PSG also linked with the Frenchman.

The money men at Spurs and Arsenal will be hoping that with all the change at the club’s around them that they can keep hold of their current incumbents. The benefits of a steady ship in unknown waters will hopefully gain success.

New Managers take time to bed in. Looking at Moyes for starters, the 50 year old has never won at Old Trafford, although with 19 games at home next season he would hope to break that duck. He has also never won at Stamford Bridge, the Emirates and Anfield.

The Scot has never finished higher than fourth in the table. He will however take over a team that knows how to win and has some big names and experience, all of which will prove invaluable.

It will take time, maybe 3 or 4 games or maybe longer – stable teams can take advantage at this point.

Managers need to get their ideas across, build up the trust of the players and the expectation of success. Mourinho should he return to where he is loved will meet a very different team from the one he left in 2007.

Sure John Terry, Frank Lampard (if a new contract is agreed) and Petr Cech might still be at the club but the rest of the squad will have no experience of his methods, his idea’s and his training sessions. They will have to learn all over again (although after the past two seasons they should be used to it).

Again though while long term success might return, the short term will once again be bedding in period.

Manchester City meanwhile has endured a difficult season with failure to progress in the Champions League matched by a relatively poor defence of their title and a shock FA cup final defeat.

Roberto Mancini’s failure to lift a major trophy cost him his job with Manuel Pellegrini is poised to take over at the Etihad.

Mancini was critical of the City board in the aftermath of the Wembley defeat for their failure to quash the rumours and that public “attack” served to only add to fuel the fire.

The highly rated Pellegrini is believed to the manager in waiting, his stock rising former on the back of the minor miracles he has performed at Malaga this season.

The Chilean has however, never experienced success in Europe, a 2004 Intertoto cup aside. The closest he came was in 2010 when he finished second to Barcelona with a record 96 points with one of the most expensively assembled Real Madrid teams in history.

PSG are also being linked with the 59 year old meaning that Jurgen Klopp could enter the frame now that the Manchester money men have decided that change is necessary. It was not though.

Unnecessary change will only add to the “chaos” and “uncertainty “of next season’s Premier League and Manchester City’s best option to manage that “chaos” would have been to “stick and hold”.

Mancini was already a man under pressure before the FA cup debacle, his failure to progress in two Champions League campaign especially this season a blot on an otherwise impressive spell at the Etihad.

5th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and 2nd place not to mention two FA cups finals are an indication of how the English speaking Italian had come to understand English football aided admittedly by an impressive war chest.

The changing at the guard at Old Trafford offered City a real chance to establish the club as a real force and to go and change managers could unsteady the ship and hand the initiative back to United and Chelsea, especially for a manager such as Pellegrini who at 59 is still seen as a bright up and coming manager.

Liverpool meanwhile will be watching events from afar with glee. The club have endured a forgettable season, with a seventh place finish the most likely outcome on the back of three feeble cup exits.

Brendan Rodgers has shown enough signs, especially in the second half of the season, to suggest that he is coming to terms with the expectations of life at Anfield.

Rodgers is slowly building a free scoring consistent side and some clever manoeuvres in the summer transfer window could see the Reds challenge for a Champions League side.
Anything more will depend on how the other more developed sides manage their respective adjustments.

@WilleGannon recently wrote a piece for the Bleacher Report stating his expectation that the 2013/2014 season would be one of the most exciting yet.

Gannon highlighted the increased revenue from TV deals, the world class players, added motivation of a world cup in Brazil and the managers as the reasons.

The reference to managers in this instance was to their combined success in England and Europe – it was not an allusion to the wind of change that would sweep through the league.

That single factor alone will ensure that 2013/2014 will be a season to remember, for which club, well, that depends on how much chaos there is.

Author Info

Trevor Keane

Trevor Keane is a Limerick man based in Kilkenny. He is a sports writer and the author of Gaffers, 50 years of Irish Managers and Running through Walls. He is also the owner of www.Fantasy5Live.com. Follow him on twitter @Trevkeane - he loves sports chat.

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