Sunderland's new boss is proving value for money in the Premier League, and from Sir Alex Ferguson to Sam Allardyce, all the Premier League's bosses deserve respect, writes Steven Altman.
English football has seen its fair share of managers over the years that have in equal measures entertained, aggravated, outraged and been downright rude to the media and even to the fans.
The frontrunner in my view is Sir Alex Ferguson, who in a lot of people's minds is the Don of all managers, the Godfather who stands out not only for his incredible winning record but for his intensity both on and off the field. Chewing his trademark gum, we have seen him shout at, encourage and even abuse both his players and officials on and off the field.
Flinging a boot at David Beckham in the changing room comes to mind. And when he berates officials on the sideline or even on the field he does it with panache and an open insolence that is breathtaking to watch, and damn the consequences! He is always good entertainment value for those of us who are not directly in the path of his 'hairdryer treatment' and I think that history will view him as one of the best English football managers ever.
Arsene Wenger is another classic; who can forget the famous recurring statement 'I didn't see it' and his Basil Fawlty like antics on the side-line when things are not going his way?
Other names spring to mind…Jose Mourinho who is a classic in another league (literally and figuratively) and the sublime Pep Guardiola who must surely be in a master class all of his own.
On the home front, the quiet yet determined David Moyes, the larger than life Sam Allardyce and Harry Houdini Redknapp have all contributed their bit to the game, and we have enjoyed watching and listening to them (at least some of the time).
All of these managers have added immeasurable quality to the game, with their wealth of experience and we the fans value their input.
And then a few weeks ago, along came the appointment of the controversial Paulo Di Canio. When the news broke that Martin O'Neill was sacked, many thought that this was a wrong move. However, the result against Newcastle might be an indication that they were wrong. Despite the downside of the new manager, the bottom line is that if the team wins games normally the fans get behind the manager. (Unless you are Rafael Benitez that is who seems to be hated by some fans no matter how the team performs.)
I can't make up my mind about Di Canio. He is loose cannon, but at the same time he seems to have a quality that is difficult to define…a kind of passion that might just get his team through the season; and the passion of the man is breathtaking - running up and down the touch line, splitting his trousers, hugging his players when they score, exhibiting all the ingredients of a motivational manager, despite the downside which the media have highlighted since his appointment.
Time will tell.
But one thing is for sure; we owe a debt of gratitude to all these managers who entertain us week in and week out. They are in surely one of the most stressful jobs in the world, and I take my hat off to all of them.
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