Football FanCast columnist Scott McCarthy feels that Notts County were crazy to dispense of Ian McParland.
Notts County are fast becoming the laughing stock of world football. Nobody seems to have any idea who is actually behind the clubs Middle-East owners Munto Finance, Sol Campbell joined on a long term contract with the promise of bringing Premiership football to Meadow Lane before walking out after defeat in the glamorous surroundings of Morecambe's Christie Park, and the much heralded Sven-Goran Eriksson could be prepared to follow his former-England centre back out the door if the chance to manage his native Sweden arises.
The latest instalment in the circus that is fast developing on the banks of the River Trent has seen County reward manager Ian McParland for his achievements in taking his side to fifth in the League Two table, four points behind first place Bournemouth with an unbeaten home record and the best goal difference by giving him his P45.
The writing had been on the wall for McParland since the arrival of Eriksson, and not even his status as a popular former player with the County faithful following his 267 appearances over 8 years of distinctive service, and his performances in keeping them away from the trap door to non-league wilderness after years of under-investment could save him from the chop.
So, what next for the Football League's oldest club? Well, it depends what you believe really. Eriksson doesn't want the job and is going to lead the quest to find the right man to take Notts County into the Premiership (presuming, of course, that he isn't to walk out in the next few days for the Sweden job). According to some sources, Roberto Mancini is set to follow up his Serie A titles with Inter Milan by attempting to lead Notts County to League Two glory. Of course, if he does take the job, it will be to "be part of something special", "to build a legacy", to "be committed to taking Notts County to the top". (Delete as applicable – obviously it will have nothing to do with the rumoured £12million wage packet over 5 years). Another candidate being put forward is Steve McClaren, which would be a particularly bizarre move bearing in mind he is doing a pretty good job of rebuilding his reputation with FC Twente.
The trouble with such a high profile manager who is used to top facilities and world class players coming in is that there is a world of difference between a Milan derby at the San Siro and a Tuesday night visit to Saltergate, Chesterfield. Sol Campbell realised he couldn't cope with the drop in standard after one game, and the same questions would have to be asked of such a big name manager taking to the dugout at Meadow Lane. What knowledge does Mancini have of League Two; would his Serie A style of management be able to get results within the rough, nitty gritty style of England's basement league? Probably not.
What County need is a manager with experience of League Two and who knows what they would require to get out of that league. Somebody like Peter Taylor, who has promotions from the bottom two divisions with Gillingham, Brighton, Hull and Wycombe to his name would be perfect. Despite these qualifications, he probably will not even be on the Munto Finance radar – although if Eriksson has any clue on the qualities required to get County out of League Two, he will seriously consider the man he entrusted with the England Under 21 side.
Notts County could do a lot worse than look into the home dugout at the Don Valley Stadium on Saturday when they begin life post-McParland against Rotherham United for an example of what happens when you sack a manager for a bigger name. The new Millers boss Ronnie Moore was replaced with John Barnes at Tranmere despite guiding them to 7th in League One, one place outside the play-offs. Barnes was, despite a disastrous managerial record, deemed the man to take Tranmere forward due to his reputation in the footballing world as opposed to Moore's obvious qualities at doing the job. They now find themselves managerless having had to part company with the ex-Liverpool man following a slide from play-off contenders to relegation candidates.
McParland had the knowledge and the experience to lead Notts County out of League Two and help them take their first steps towards the holy grail of Premier League football. A world class manager will serve them well should they ever get within touching distance of realising that dream, but at this moment in time they may have just got rid of the most qualified man to begin that journey. The footballing world looks on and wonders what on earth the Meadow Lane circus has in store for us next
888Sport – Get a Piece of the Action: join now and get £50 in free bets today!