Friday, 1 October 2010

Sousa leaves: Sven next?

Sven-Goran Eriksson during his reign as Manchester City boss
Paulo Sousa was sacked as manager of Leicester City earlier today, in a move widely criticised by the League Managers' Association after Foxes' chairman Milan Mandaric assured Sousa his position was safe earlier in the week.

"'We have a long term plan," said the Serbo-American after the 4-3 defeat against Norwich on Tuesday night, "Paulo is part of that."

We've heard this before, however. Any assurance from a football club chairman that a manager will not lose his job is usually the first nail in their coffin, as was the case with Sousa. It's hardly surprising that he's been shown the door after a dismal start to the season - worse, even, than in the fateful 2007/08 season when Leicester were relegated for the first time into English football's third tier. Some fans were calling for the Portuguese's head even before the humiliating 6-1 defeat at Portsmouth.

The fact of the matter is that Sousa has left the club, leading to the question of who will replace him. Martin O'Neill, for a long time the fans' favourite, has ruled himself out of contention, according to the LMA, whilst the BBC and various newspapers are reporting that the job may have been offered to former England coach Sven Goran Eriksson - with the Daily Mirror even going as far to say that a deal has already been done.

Eriksson did not deny the rumours: "I have had a lot of contact with clubs in the last week," said the former Ivory Coast and Mexico boss, "That's normal, but I won't comment on this story."

Whether or not such a big-name appointment will work at the Walkers is subject to some debate - Sousa was supposed to attract big signings along with Thai investment, which he succeeded in doing at the cost of progress on the pitch. What has been effective for the Foxes in the recent past is the appointment of relatively untested managers - Pearson from a limited spell at Southampton, O'Neill from Wycombe Wanderers, even Brian Little from Darlington who lead Leicester to play-off success in 1994.

Leicester play Scunthorpe at the Walkers Stadium tomorrow, where coach Chris Powell and goalkeeping coach Mike Stowell will jointly take caretaker charge.
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