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Managerial merry-go-round spins out of control

Chick Young | 13:49 UK time, Wednesday, 27 May 2009

When you lose two battles, for you the war is over.

Gordon Strachan had no chance of carrying on at Celtic the moment Rangers embraced the championship. He had already lost huge swathes of the club's support.

Two falls, a submission or a knock-out will do it every time.

In truth, he was a heartbeat from chucking it all in 12 months earlier amid the frenzy of clinching his third consecutive title.

By the time Celtic had slumped on to the Champions League floor on a winter's night in the Danish town of Aalborg, I suspect he was already regretting his decision not to head over the horizon in a blaze of summer glory.

Gordon Strachan and Mark McGheeHistory will hopefully be kinder to him than the immediate reaction to his departure. Football can be an awfully cruel business.

I do not accept that the majority of Celtic fans wanted him removed, but in truth it was more than a tiny minority. He won them titles, but he never won their hearts. I'm not sure I will ever understand why.

Was it the comments about the Alsatian dogs and cans of Kestrel? Or was it because they didn't like the way he spoke to the media?

Maybe it was that, right enough, because the world knows we are precious wee souls and fans of the club have always been so kindly concerned about my welfare.

The wise old owl that is Walter Smith sussed him in the end but with the support of his club's fans he was entitled to the right to fight another day.

In the end, though, he just reckoned that it wasn't worth the hassle.

Of course there were blunders: the price tag on Adam Virgo, the wages of Thomas Gravesen, the decision not to start with Aiden McGeady in the most recent Old Firm match.

But he inherited the Bobo Balde situation which tied up wages of £30,000 a week and one hand behind his back.

There were confusing signals too from his man management. He massaged the Aiden McGeady strop brilliantly, but never seemed quite capable of giving Artur Boruc the necessary clip across the ear.

But I like him a lot. And his bark - Alsatian or otherwise - was always worse than his bite.

And I don't really comprehend the two fingers being flicked behind his back as he disappeared in the direction of a Spanish golf course.

The glint in your eye is the glare from six trophies being dragged in his wake.

For all that, life moves on as it always does. And as crazily as ever.

For Strachan read Calderwood. Jimmy would have been as nervous as an MP reading the Telegraph if he scanned Aberdeen fans' websites over the last couple of years, not that he ever did.

This was another exercise in the defying of logic. They gurgled with delight at Ebbe Skovdahl's pantomime performance as manager of the club, but Calderwood's achievement in taking them into Europe again wasn't good enough.

I suspect they might not realise what they had until long after he is gone.

And so the managerial merry-go-round spins out of control. I had a dream on Sunday night that two-thirds of the SPL clubs will have new men in charge for next season.

Sad, isn't it? Not the changes, but the fact that my dreams, once full of the most wonderful fantasies, have now been reduced to this.

But it could happen, which says much about the stability of our game.

Walter Smith won't leave, but he thought about it, Csaba Laslo is having much more trouble with the blessed Vladimir than most people know, Mark McGhee is being linked with more outfits than Twiggy and John Hughes seems constantly on the threshold of organising his farewell night-out.

Merry-go-round? It's a ghost train they're all on.

Hughes had talks with his board on Sunday and I can't sit here and predict that he will be in charge by this time next week, win or lose the cup final.

If they want to speak to his number two Brian Rice then they better find the dialling code for Magaluf. He is already five days late for his annual pilgrimage.

And that is where we should all be. Taking the waters, the beers and the wines, soaking up the sun and reflecting on another astonishing season which was far from Manchester United or Barcelona-esque but which ripped at the emotions in the good old-fashioned way.

In the short term, I'll see you at check-in. Come August I'll meet you at the far post.

And calm down. It's only a game.

Aye, right.


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