I think it was Alex Ferguson who said he’d never played for a draw in his life. I don’t think Lee Clark is playing for draws either but we got another one at Norwich. This time he received less blame for losing the lead. Most fans acknowledged that Norwich has better players and were glad that Blues had got a point. Clark still has his critics, of course, as do a lot of other managers.
Alan Pardew is one who has been under intense pressure and he faced the prospect of a mass protest on Saturday. The website sackpardew.com published plans to distribute “30,000 A4 sheets with ‘SackPardew.com’ in red and blue text on a white background, plus 100 larger banners” before the game. However, the BBC report said that only a few fans took part in the protest and
“instead of a demonstration of the power of the crowd’s combined discontent, what we eventually saw through the Magpies’ stirring fightback to draw 2-2 with Hull was evidence of how effective the Toon Army are when they get together behind their team.”
I don’t know enough about the situation at Newcastle to say why the protest didn’t materialise but that doesn’t stop me speculating. You need more than a website, posters and banners for a protest; you need people. And people like to know who they are following; the founders of the Sack Pardew website have chosen to be anonymous. Also, as suggested by the BBC quote above, people may prefer to back their team rather than boo the manager.
In general, I believe that managers need to be given time and shouldn’t be sacked after a few bad results. That doesn’t mean I disagree with all sackings. I think it was right for Fulham to get rid of Felix Magath. A Guardian report lists some of the crazy things he did including overruling the club doctor’s treatment plan for a slight thigh injury and having a block of cheese put on it instead. He played Dan Burn at right back against Stoke and only told him on the morning of the game and when “Burn pointed out he had never played that position in his life he … was sent into a form of isolation.” I imagine that, at that time, Burn might have been glad to come back to Birmingham City and be managed by Lee Clark. I’m glad for him that the team now has a chance to return to less crazy ways. I just wish Fulham had put up with Magath for a couple more weeks so we could have played them before they had a chance to recover. In a video clip on the Fulham site, Burn says he’s looking for a result against us on Saturday. I’m afraid they may get one. Burn obviously likes the caretaker manager and players make an effort for managers they like.