August 17, 2018

2014-2015 SEASON: A NERVOUS ONE FOR COACHES ALL ROUND

coach

The recently concluded soccer season has seen the sacking of various coaches, some may be justifiable but a good number is controversial.
BY STEVE NJUGUNA

Football is a game of great passion and great passion walks hand in hand with great pressure especially for those making the big decisions, the coaches. Thus it should come as no big surprise that some coaches who started the season did not finish. We sample some for you in this column.

1. Safet Susic-Bosnia and Herzegovina
The former attacking midfielder is a darling of Bosnian soccer fans and is a legend in both Bosnia and France where he was named the best ever foreign player to grace the French top division in a poll done by journalists. As a coach, he managed to lead Bosnia to their first ever World Cup tournament in Brazil in 2014. However, as the new soccer season began he went from hero to zero in the Euro 2016 qualifiers as Bosnia lost their first 3 games. Critics also referred to the fact that he included his nephew Tino Sven in the Bosnian World cup squad despite the youngster’s inexperience. He was promptly handed the sack in November.

2. Steve McLaren-Derby County
The Englishman has had a long and distinguished coaching career, one of his notable achievements was coaching the English national side. His appointment at Derby County in 2013 saw an upturn in the clubs fortune’s as they got to the Championship playoffs final only to lose to Queens Park Rangers who got the ultimate prize of being promoted to the top flight. His second season in charge was another near miss as he also missed out on getting to the Championship playoffs much to the frustration of the club board. Their poor season was epitomized in a 2-2 draw against 10 man Watford as Watford went on to take the final slot. He was promptly sacked at the end of the 2014-2015 season prompting mixed reactions from the club’s fans as some did want him to stay.

3. Sam Allardyce- West Ham United
The huge man affectionately called by his fans “Big Sam” was already on the spot as the season began but he managed to convince the board that he was worthy of the job. He signed Diafra Sakho from Metz and Enner Valencia from Pachuca .The signings seemed to pay off as their goals and an overall good first half of the season left West Ham within touching distance of the Europa league places. However, a slump in the second half of the season saw West Ham finish in 13th place with only 47 points. ‘Big Sam’ was promptly sacked minutes after their 2-0 loss to Newcastle on the penultimate day of the 2014-2015.

4. Alan Pardew-Newcastle United
Things are very unclear on how things went at Newcastle United but the official reports claim Pardew resigned while grapevine reports claim that Pardew had lost his footing with club chairman Mike Ashley and was dismissed. This, however, proved to be fatal for Newcastle as they won only three more times after he left and had to wait until the last day of the season to avoid relegation. As for Pardew he went to his boyhood club Crystal Palace and changed their fortunes managing to coach them, ironically, to finish above Newcastle.

5. Carlo Ancelotti-Real Madrid
The hugely successful Italian coach still remains the only coach to win the UEFA Champions league title three times in the modern era. His tenure at Real Madrid has been largely successful as in the 2013-2014 season he led them to their prestigious 10th European Championship, fondly referred to as ”La Decima” by Madrid fans. However, the 2014-2015 season has also been a season of near misses as they were 2nd in the league and were knocked out of the Champions League by Juventus in the Semi-Final stage. He was sacked at the end of the season and intends to take a one year sabbatical to have a medical procedure he has been pushing back.

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