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Daniel Brigham

Who'd be a manager (latest Pink'Un blog)

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Whatever our views, we shouldn''t abuse Chris Hughton on Saturday. Managers have it tough enough already. By Daniel Brigham.On a tropical island, two isolated figures converge. Like Andy and Red at the end of The Shawshank Redemption they embrace warmly, two old friends with a lifetime of pain and regret, finally at peace with the world.This

is how I would like to imagine Steve Kean and Terry Connor now. They

drink rum and work together to restore an old boat as the waves lap at

their feet, thousands of miles from their past lives, oceans away from

the contorted faces of football mobs.They would deserve this

easy life in the sun (even if their boat would undoubtedly sink). While

Connor was afforded the sympathies of the Wolves faithful, who

recognised a dignified man trying his best in difficult circumstances,

his name has become unfairly synonymous with failure. Kean had no such

support from the Blackburn fans, instead witnessing levels of anger and

hatred that no one – other than Piers Morgan – should have to contend

with. Both men are living, breathing examples of when sackings go wrong (on a tangent, someone needs to turn When Sackings Go Wrong into a TV show. Jamie Theakston can narrate it. Or Danny Dyer.). It’s

not Kean’s or Connor’s fault. They were both appointed by boards who

had just axed respected, successful managers. Out when Sam Allardyce, in

came Kean, in came relegation. Bye, bye Mick McCarthy, hello Connor,

hello relegation.And how are those four doing now? Allardyce is

still criticised despite leading newly-promoted West Ham to 10th last

season, McCarthy is at a forgetful mid-table Championship club where

Connor has joined him as his assistant, Kean is the boss at Brunei DPMM

in the Singapore S League. Who’d be a manager, eh?Meanwhile,

Wolves and Blackburn are both onto their third managers since Kean and

Connor were sacked last season. Blackburn are outside the Championship

play-off places, while Wolves are second in League One. It’s a long way

back to the Premier League. Joining Allardyce and McCarthy on

the Baffling Sackings List are Steve McClaren at Nottingham Forest,

Chris Hughton at Newcastle, Lee Clark at Huddersfield, Neil Warnock at

QPR, Brian McDermott at Reading, Nigel Adkins at Southampton. In same

cases it worked, in most it didn''t. In all examples, though, they were

gambles. Sacking good managers appears to be a badge of honour

for some owners. After all, who''s going to argue with them? A few loons

with placards outside their window isn''t going to bother them when they

jump in their chauffeured limo, drive through the gates of their

Georgian mansion, slip into their smoking jackets and sit down to watch The World at War for a bit of light relief each evening. On

a weekly basis managers have to deal with the whims of these owners. On

top of that they have to handle abuse from supporters, work incredibly

long hours and deal with young men who increasingly like to see

themselves as celebrities rather than sportsmen. Occasionally they are

even forced to sit down and be interviewed by Garth Crooks. No one –

other than Piers Morgan – deserves that fate. Although they are

handsomely paid and choose to go into management – presumably due to a

masochistic urge that could be as effectively fulfilled by clamping

chains to their nipples and hanging upside down from a metal bar – they

do not deserve the abuse they inevitably fall victim of. No one –

other than Piers Morgan – should have to hire a bodyguard like Kean had

to after dissenting fans tweeted a picture of a restaurant he and his

family were dining at. They actively wanted people people to confront

him. In front of his family.Of course Blackburn fans had genuine

grievances. The club they support was being rapidly destroyed by their

chicken-farming owners. Kean was certainly part of the problem and

probably should have stepped down but, as Connor said at the time, “For

me, that abuse is crossing the boundary where a man can’t do his day’s

work and enjoy what he does.''''So, how about us Norwich fans? Are we going to cross that line on Saturday?Just

try and remember the first time we went to Carrow Road as kids. We

didn’t go to boo or scream abuse at the manager. We went because we

loved football and we loved seeing our heroes. We loved tackles,

dribbles and goals. We loved it because we had found something that was

even more exciting than kick the can and Dungeons and Dragons. Often, we didn’t even care or know who the manager was. It was all about the players. Sometimes

it’s too easy to forget why we fell in love with the game, because

football is devilishly good at switching on and off our base emotions.

For right or wrong, it consumes us and it leaves us either elated or

unshakeably depressed. It’s stoopid, but that’s just the way it is. But it''s also just kicking a ball about. Whatever your views, it''s no excuse to abuse a man for trying his best.Daniel Brigham is Features Editor of The Cricketer.Follow him on Twitter: @cricketer_dan

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