Fulham - I'd Take Hughes
It's a difficult and very circumstantial subject to touch upon, but, it's one that is very central to Fulham right now.
I am of course talking about which manager will actually be taking us into the next season of footballing fun.
Assuming (Sir) Roy Hodgson does set off for pastures new, we will of course be left with a rather large gap to fill. Taking that into account, the media seem pretty certain that any potential race to take up the imminent vacancy will be won by either Sven-Goran Eriksson or Mark Hughes.
Whilst Eriksson does have his plus points, I certainly won't be one of the few to argue his cause, but, Hughes does seem like a very viable and plausible replacement for Hodgson.
As to what Mohammed Al-Fayed will want from a new manager, it is hard to presume. Of course he will be ambitious and will want to look for a brighter future for Fulham, yet, I'm sure he will realistically be looking for some stability too.
Our situation is, you could say, very similar to that of Middlesbrough's a few years back. Fresh from European defeat, Steve McLaren was picked up and 'Boro were left to fill what were at the time, very big boots.
McLaren's departure then triggered a downward spiral in events for the Northerners who now find themselves in the second tier of English football.
Hopefully, Mo will learn from that and will look towards the more experienced end of the managerial market, and, I believe Hughes would be the perfect man to take us onwards and upwards (or more realistically, stay where we are.)
He's a man that in truth, is difficult to assess. He's been out of the game for six or so months now and his last job was a particularly huge and scrutinised one. I, personally, feel he left the City job with his pride and dignity well intact, as, in all fairness, the blue half of Manchester were never going to achieve what their rich-beyond-belief owners thought they could.
If we look past his role at Manchester City then, we see a very respectable tenure at Blackburn Rovers. I would even go to the extent to say what he did at Blackburn very much reflects Roy's achievements here, minus a magnificent European run.
Mark Hughes took a relegation threatened side and made them top 6 candidates within a short period of time, and whilst there, he proved his eye for a bargain too.
He brought in the likes of David Bentley and Roque Santa Cruz for a combined fee which falls well below £5 million pounds; much more creditable than what we paid for the lovable crock, Andy Johnson, for example.
I am not, of course, claiming Mark Hughes to be some sort of genius twin to Roy, but if we want to avoid a similar feat to that of Middlesbrough, I think we need to look at managers who share some attributes to our current legendary gaffer.
Roy has been one of the greatest things to grace our club in a fair while, so I really would say continuity is the key.
I would hire Mark Hughes any day. Anybody with me?