It should come as no shock to you that Billy is a fully paid-up member of the filthy capitalist establishment, and therefore I have many times been in the position of wanting people to leave my company against their will. Human Resources will tell you there are two ways to go about this. The first is RIF; this is not a jazz term, but the HR-speak for “reduction in force” which you and I know as redundancy – “Your role no longer exists, it’s nothing personal, here’s some cash, please go away.” The second official method is euphemistically called “performance management” and it basically involves you documenting how badly someone is doing their job before you fire them with no payoff. The catch is it takes two or three months to boilerplate yourself against lawsuits, and us capitalists are impatient scum.
It appears to me that neither of these methods was employed by Willie Miller at the conclusion of last season; he employed the third technique, the one your HR department doesn’t want to tell you about – “mutually agreed separation”. It involves an employee and their manager in a room with a piece of paper; the manager’s script is basically, “Sign this, go away, and we won’t say bad things about you.” See? It’s mutually agreed. [What’s not said: don’t sign it, and we’ll fire you anyway, and we won’t give you a reference so it’ll be hard to get another job.]
I have to say I was very surprised to see The Two Jimmys get the boot at the end of the season. What are Aberdeen thinking? They barely have two pennies to rub together, and it’s not that long ago they were hawking their dressing-room toaster on eBay and making excuses for their manager’s inability to show up to work sober once a week. The round orange man and his slimmer sidekick orangeman at least made Aberdeen a respectable side again; hardly feared, but they did at least have a decent run in Europe once and were consistently in or near the Euro places. All with minimal investment. OK, they weren’t going to be champions in the near future but Aberdeen are taking a risk.
As are Motherwell, who lost their leader Mark McGhee to the Dandy Dons. “Jim Who?” was my initial response to his appointment, and not just because I am parochial and ignorant. A surprise appointment but perhaps a canny one; he seems to have done alright at Stockport under difficult circumstances and the Steelmen got him for nothing, Gannon having been made redundant with Stockport in administration since April. He talks the talk about attacking football, though he’ll be challenged to walk that talk on the bog of a pitch that is Fir Park with half his first team out the door since the end of May.
Attacking football is Tony Mowbray’s mantra, and the East End masses will be hoping he brings cavalier style back to the hoops. Personally I hope he gets them relegated like he did West Brom, but I think it’s a good appointment by Celtic (even if he was maybe their second choice, with Roberto Martinez going to Wigan). I remember being impressed with Mowbray’s footballing philosophy – and the fact that he could articulate one – when he joined Hibs, and subsequent Easter Road managers have been unable to replicate his success despite having equally good players to work with. He may find it tough to get Celtic into the Champions League group stages, but he will probably have enough goodwill to get through that by virtue of not being Gordon Strachan. But as with all Old Firm managers, one bad season and your position is shaky, so he needs to get off to a solid start in the league – never mind that all-important first derby.
Yogi Hughes was picked to fill Mowbray’s old role at Easter Road and the ex-Hibee didn’t seem to think too long before accepting. Again, a smart selection because he showed with Falkirk he had an eye for a good young player (Stokes, Barr, Duffy); that he could pair them with useful older pros (Latapy, McCann, Pressley); and that he could get his teams playing good passing football. And while Fletcher has gone, he’ll still have Riordan to put a finish on all the nice tippy-tappy moves.
And finally, this being a music site, pick a song for Falkirk’s new manager Eddie May.
The famous Disco Pants:
“Eddie May’s Disco Pants are the best,
They go up from his arse to his chest,
They are better than Adam and the Ants,
Eddie May’s Disco Pants.”
Or channelling Rod Stewart:
“Wake up Eddie I think I got something to say to you,
It’s late September and I really should have a point or two.”
If that’s the Falkirk chairman’s karaoke pick in the Autumn then Eddie May will need extra-special Disco Pants to keep his job.