Timmy’s suggested successor: Roberto Martinez

With all the FIFA shenanigans last week, and now Hughes leaving us high and dry, my passion if not sheer interest in the sport is seriously being tested. But thankfully I have all you guys and gals.

But it should be said I’m not surprised Hughes left. Frustrated, but not shocked. It makes sense: we came to him late, he added the one-year-get-out clause because he had the leverage, managed a successful season all things considered, and is now gone for another “challenge”. Hmph. You may be right, but piss off.

So, here’s my random shortlist to replace Hughes. All are good I suppose, except one, but Martinez is my guy.

Martin Jol – It’s not still July 2010 is it?  It’s a little disconcerting that Jol quit Ajax in December, and the club went on to win the Eredivisie title. But there’s been a lot of politicking going on in Amsterdam, even before Johan Cruyff took the reins in February, so perhaps he had enough? I’ve written about him in the past, and stick with what I said then.

Roberto Di Matteo – Di Matteo was in the process of taking West Brom down, but they put up some impressive results en route. Everyone felt sorry for the Italian gaffer after his sacking in February, but understood the firing once Roy Hodgson got the gig. (When a man of Roy’s caliber is available for a club like West Brom, you make that move. I think had Brum not made the Carling Cup Final, they too would have done the same to McLeish). Roy sure managed to turn things around, but West Brom’s problem was a great offense and poor defense (the latter of which Roy excels at changing). Fulham have a great defense and unreliable offense. Could be a good fit.

Ian Holloway – Equally eccentric as our Chairman. Could be a volatile combination, could be the perfect elixir. Took Blackpool down, but Blackpool had the lowest payroll in the history of the EPL. (I just made that stat up, but it’s perfectly believable, no?) Like with Di Matteo, could use some defensive schooling, but going forward there’s much to like.

Martin O’Neill – Stop it. After falling out with one of the most hands-off owners in sports, why would O’Neill get along with our crazy chairman? Plus, Hughes at least left us after the season ended, not 5 days before it started.

Luigi “Gigi” Delneri – We’re in dreamland here, but this man led recently relegated Sampdoria to an undefeated home record in 2009-10 and a place in the Champions League Qualifiers. He’s also taken Chievo Verona and Palermo to the UEFA Cup. Are any of those two and/or Sampdoria that much different from us? Sure, his time at Juventus was nothing to gloat about, but the managerial attrition rate at all the “big” Italian clubs is absurd (Juve is on their 5th coach in 3 seasons alone). Not to mention he’s coached at practically every club in Italy, so perhaps he’d like a crack at the EPL. My only concern about his track record is that, is if this did happen by some magical chance, he’d leave after a year. Hmm.

Brian McDermott – Unfortunately he’s still quite unproven. But he did take Reading, now a shell of its EPL self, from relegation candidates to Playoff Runners-up in about 17 months. Great guy. Great work.

Roberto Martinez – I don’t know if this would be the best hire per se, but I’d certainly be very pleased with it. Considering their “Jeckyl and Hyde” nature, he pulled off a miracle with Wigan two years running so just think what he could do with a well-rounded squad (and for a club with fans.) Martinez has signed some flops, but that’s often the result of constantly searching for bargains. He’s extremely intelligent yet unassuming, friendly yet genuine; Fulham embodied, no? If Rich suggests we attack another dog, Wigan is the perfect pooch to go. I don’t normally like to subscribe to such logic, but, seriously, where else can that club go? Their star player N’Zogbia is presumably a goner. Their goalie went back to Bolton on loan. I have a hunch Hugo Rodallega may get scooped up by a club on the continent this summer. Sorry, but they’re dead anyway.

So please come, Roberto.

16 thoughts on “Timmy’s suggested successor: Roberto Martinez

  1. John Kreis of Real Salt Lake – this is an MLS bias here but Kreis has lead his team to the MLS Title (2009), The CONCACAF Club championship and his team has only lost two games at home in the last two years. He’s a rising star in the USA and has been mentioned as a national team coach possibility for the next cycle. Seems like a club that likes to take chances on US players and usually have it work out (cue Dempsey and McBride) may be time to take a chance on a manager.

  2. It’s Jason Kreis, not John, and while it’s always nice for us Yanks to speculate that one of our own is fit for a job in the Premier League, Kreis isn’t that one. Admittedly, he is something of a rising star over here but he recently signed an extension with Real Salt Lake and isn’t likely to walk away from that. Also, he’s not remotely qualified. Perhaps in 10 or so years and with some experience somewhere other than the MLS, he might be a chance worth taking but not now. Frankly, I’m not sure there’s an American coach worth mentioning for the position so let’s nip that discussion in the bud right now. I’ve always liked Martinez and think he would do well at Fulham. Ian Holloway would be entertaining but could be equally disastrous.

  3. I also like Martinez, for the qualities you mention, plus appreciation (often voiced) of the loyalty shown by his chairman. Additionally, expect MAF to want a bigger name, for his own self-image and to keep the players pacified. Rich’s suggestion, Lambert, falls at the same hurdle, plus (in only a slightly difference sense — contract freshly signed) the first one too. In other, and maybe future circumstances, yes to either, but it’ll be no to both right now.

  4. Isn’t Di Matteo Italian?

    Anways – my pick would be for McClaren,I think. Seems like a good fit for us.
    -Managed to get Middlesborough into the UEFA Cup twice
    (once through getting 7th, once through a League Cup win)
    -managed ro16 and a final in the UEFA Cup.

    PLUS – he now has valuable experience managing two European sides, which can only add to his experience.

    (I think his England stint can be forgotten – it’s a bit of a poisoned chalice anyway).

  5. Luigi Del Neri would be great and I like the outsied shout for Brian McDermott.

    I really like Matinez, but my only concern would be on the defensive side. However, as you point out, with the right resources, he could be a great manager.

  6. It’s very hard to know how good Martinez is. Wigan looked awful and should have gone down at least once under his management. To his credit he has stiffened them up and might be on the verge of turning the team around. Everyone speaks well of him, too. And they play quite nice football (as did Swansea when he was there). Against that is the suspicion that he’s partly responsible for Wigan not being very good. Against that, they’re arguably still over-achieving. So who knows?

    1. The same dude that scored the winning goal at the death in the Genovese Derby, practically sending Sampdoria down?

      Franco Di Santo is no star either…

  7. Jol.

    For a more interesting choice how about Holloway, hoping he can bring Adams as well.

    I’m not a big O’neill fan. His teams play ugly football and he has a tendency to act like a whiney princess.

  8. Hearing Martinez on ESPN’s World Cup coverage last year made me appreciate what an intelligent football man that he is. He really knows his stuff and I believe that Wigan’s shortcomings are more of a by-product of the club’s standing rather than his abilities. I can’t imagine that it’s easy to get players to want to come and play for Wigan, but he’s done a very good job of it.

    I think that the other candidates listed all have drawbacks in my eyes. McClaren is a good thought, but if I had my choice, I’d rather it be Martinez.

    1. I think this is a good point. Martinez is a manager who I’m not too keen on unless I take a minute to really think about who he is, his personality, style of play and the situation he’s currently in.

      He was pretty wonderful at Swansea. The fans kind of loathe him now for saying he’d never leave, criticizing players for leaving and then leaving himself. I wonder if he could be pried from Wigan if he wasn’t fired?

  9. Well, I for one vote for the Seattle Sounders’ Sigi Schmid if we’re going to be laying out pipe dream-y American managers. Schmid won the MLS Cup with the Columbus Crew 3 years ago, then moved on to the expansion Sounders, won the Lamar Hunt Trophy (USA’s version of the FA Cup) his first year with the team, and then lost the title game of the same cup last year. All in all, I think there’d be a pretty huge transition from US manager to EPL manager, so for Fulham’s sake I don’t think any MLS guy would be a really great idea, but he’d be as good as any, I guess.

    In (slightly) more realistic speculation, how about Capello after England cans him for tying Switzerland?

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