16. Sep, 2021

Times when we've sacked too soon, too late, and at the right time...

The #hcafc hashtag is a funny place at times. This week hasn't been one of them.

When we hit the skids (and we certainly seem to be of late) then the rise of the tactical experts, super fans, angry ex-fans, tea cup throwers and those pleading for level heads makes for quite the conversational cocktail. So much so that I did the unthinkable Wednesday and took a day off posting.

The Blackburn game was frustrating, we played pretty well at times, let in a very soft goal and then another, whilst we were largely the better team but for the final third where we were a very solid second place.

Thus, on Wednesday the memes and puns were flying around "McCan't" and my new favourite "McNaive", fans were abusing fans, everyone was angry, particularly at those who weren't angry,

those non-angry people then got angry and I got bored...

You can look at all manner of stats, to make your point, whether it's no goals in 6, 1 title in 1, 2 wins in 26 or 12 wins in the last 18. All of them are true, and none of them make you right or

will make the slightest bit of difference to what is to follow.

Roll a Turkish takeover grenade into the room and I'm prone to do what many of us do and just look back at when things were more fun. So, I started to think about our previous sackings and when we did it too soon, too late, or got it right. Here it is... as ever I'll be interested to read

fans views as long as they don't call me a "happy clapper" or tag me in posts with club saying how bad the current squad is. (yes, this actually was a thing that happened)

Too late...

Mike Phelan

Poor Mike Phelan, he took over the reins when any sane man would have walked into the sea and it really did start well. However, a mixture of some horrible signings (Will Keane and Mbokani anyone?) and some tactical calamities saw us plummet into trouble. It may well be that Mike had nothing to do with said signings, but it certainly didn't help his plight. We were a coffin on roller-skates and the writing was on the wall as early as October when we made Bournemouth appear like prime Barcelona. He wouldn't be given his p45 until January 2nd and truth be told I think if Marco Silva had another month we'd have probably survived.

Terry Dolan

I mean, I know this one is a tad obvious.

Terry wasn't always brutal, he couldn't be blamed for our relegation from the second level in 1991 really and the financial restraints that gripped the club was out of his hands initially. The 93-95 period was fun at times, with Deano, Fettis, Neil Mann, Linton Brown and others. However, the next season was as brutal as it got. Deano exited stage left, the finances became even worse and we became an embarrassing pub team.

lowest ever league finish of 17th was secured in 1996-97, fans protests reached fever pitch and both Fish and Dolan trotted off.

Relegation for only the second time to the bottom league in professional football should have been curtains for old Tez. But mainly thanks to his close relationship with the blind visionary Martin Fish he stayed on and then served up one more poison salad for fans to tuck into. Our

What was to follow, incredibly, would actually be worse (beware current fans who are longing for a kebab) but Terry D should have been kicked out of the trapdoor at least 18 months before he finally was.

Too soon

Warren Joyce

Picking up the pieces of the worst double act since Mel and Sue in Dolan and Hateley, Warren Joyce did remarkable things. He miraculously kept us up against all odds in 1998/99 and injected some character and organisation back into the club. His teams were tough but had elements of

flair, didn't know when they were beat and showed some pride in the shirt.

Sure the 99/2000 was a mid-table consolidation, but after the disaster that it emerged from I'd say that was progress. I think there's every chance with a bit of a budget that Warren Joyce would have got us in the top 6 the next year. It wasn't to be, he was ousted in April of his second year when no fans were calling for his head.

Probably the victim of yet more boardroom skulduggery Warren Joyce is rightly remembered fondly by City fans and he was definitely sacked too soon.

Brian Horton

Not only did Brian Horton's teams succeed, they by and large played some lovely football. He bought really good promising players (Parker, Jobson, the world's greatest right back ever, Alex Dyer) and we were in very safe hands.

After ticking over nicely at the second level we were on a barren run when Swindon rocked up at Boothferry Park and hammered us 4-1. Don Robinson doing Don Robinson sorts of behaviour reacted badly and sacked him.

Rumour was he later rescinded this decision after the players pleaded for the gaffer. However, Brian wouldn't return and that was that. It was essentially the beginning of the end of the fun

"Robinson" years, that would see Eddie Gray and then Stan Ternant throw money around like a drunken sailor to little aplomb and the club somehow end up being ran by a potless solicitor and a blind slug. Unhappy days.

Brian Little

Another super gaffer that breathed life into the darkest of situations. Brian held together a team during the lockout of 2001 and missing wages as the Sheffield Stealers (C) were probably sending off packets of cash to a Caribbean post box. He then somehow started a playoff run

and got within minutes of the final.

Much like Brian Horton his teams also played some excellent football and he found some real gems for little or nothing such as Rodney Rowe and Kevin Francis and got the best out of what we already had. The next season saw us back with money and new ground plans and we started well. But by early 2002 we hit a bad patch of results and whilst still in the last play-off place he was given his marching orders.

The season then crumbled into obscurity and even the new chairman at the time Adam Pearson has subsequently admitted he made a rash decision. If we'd have kept him it's fair to say we'd have challenged to go up, still it led us indirectly via a fat Danish loudmouth to Peter Taylor... so it

wasn't all bad.

Phil Brown

I really ummed and ahhed on this one. It wasn't good timing to sack the old tan man BECAUSE of who we got to replace him. I've never known us to be relegated in March before (unless you count Terry D's reign of terror in 1996) until I heard Sky Sports announce we had Iain Dowie as our manager.

I gave up, there and then. It was over.

Sure, Phil has the ego the size of a small Island in the Pacific. Yes, he signed some iffy players and yes, we were in trouble that year. BUT... we weren't down and after everything he'd managed to do in three years for the club, he was the best chance we had to stay up.

Not as cut and dry as the last examples but considering who we drafted in. Brown was binned too early.

About right...

As you'll hopefully agree dear readers we got the following managers right so I'll put them all in the same bin... Mark Hateley was crap obviously, but was also in charge during a period of off-field madness, if he got a pass the first year, it was time to flush by the autumn of his second

season. Phil Parkinson did at least recruit a few able bodies (Turner, M and Ricketts, S) but his ice bathed nonsense coupled with tactical madness meant we were right to take him

around the back of the shed and put a bullet in him metaphorically speaking and

it was just in time to keep our championship status. Jan Molby also brought in a couple of future Hull City legends (Mr Elliott and Mr Ashbee) but was probably more unpopular with players than he was with fans, which was quite something. He was rightly swatted back to the kebab shop. Finally Colin Appleton, god bless his soul, the second time around was a disaster. Football had moved on in the five years since he left but Colin hadn't, again it was the right decision

to move him on.

The wildcard

Finally, there was the man I just couldn't put in one of the three categories. Leonid Slutsky was in charge for a short but sweet stint following relegation in 2017. He was utterly loveable and on a good day we were really quite ace (Birmingham at home) but it wasn't working really well. I don't know if he was sacked too soon or not. It's hard to say really, was he rapping on the training pitch and taking the lads to play fruit machines? Who knows? We could have won 25 in a row that year and won the league or never won another game. The was the magic of the man.

Thanks for reading everyone, cheer up, it might never happen and

keep smiling.