Glenn Moore: New owners always want their own man in charge, but change doesn't necessarily bring success

The Weekend Dossier
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On reflection, Neil Warnock was never likely to see out this season at Loftus Road.

He was always vulnerable under Queen's Park Rangers' previous owners, Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, who hankered for a higher-profile, preferably Italian, coach, and prior to his arrival they had rattled through managers. Warnock thus welcomed the August takeover by Tony Fernandes with relief, but while it bought him time, and enabled him to make some basic investments in the team, history suggests his departure was inevitable.

With the exception of Sir Alex Ferguson, who has been left in peace by the Glazers, though not lavishly indulged in the transfer market, a takeover invariably means a change of manager. Mark Hughes (pictured right), who has supplanted Warnock, was a victim of it himself, leaving Manchester City 16 months after Sheikh Mansour's arrival. Such is the game's merry-go-round, that is often the way. Sam Allardyce was eased out of Newcastle seven months after Mike Ashley took over, and out of Blackburn a month after Venky's bought the club, but he benefited when David Sullivan and David Gold brought him in at West Ham to replace Gianfranco Zola. History was repeating itself at Upton Park, Sullivan's and Gold's Icelandic predecessors had axed Alan Pardew a month after their 2006 takeover.

In many respects, there is nothing unusual or sinister about this. Owners want their own people. In business, a takeover is usually followed by a change of management. When Kraft took over Cadbury, the chief executive and finance director went within days, and three-quarters of its 165 managers within months; when the Royal Bank of Scotland conducted the ill-fated takeover of ABN-Amro, the latter's management was largely cleared out at an EGM. Every time the political opposition change leader, there is a reshuffle of the shadow cabinet.

However, the difference is such takeovers normally involve one group of experts replacing another (though maybe not in the case of RBS to judge from the consequences). Football club takeovers usually involve one rich owner with only a passing knowledge of football being replaced by another. Then they change the expert which is why, even in an industry in which managers have always come and gone, many of these decisions seem capricious.

Warnock was fired half a season after winning the Championship; Pardew seven months after being within a Steven Gerrard thunderbolt of winning the FA Cup; Roy Hodgson did not appear to have much of a chance at Liverpool once ownership changed from one set of Americans to another.

Graham Taylor, the former England, Aston Villa, Wolves and Watford manager, said he left management because of the new breed of owners coming in. "I didn't like the way the game was heading," he told The Independent yesterday. "There are more and more non-football people coming into it. So many people take charge of clubs who are successful and wealthy and don't seem to understand only one team can win and one comes 20th.

"They are people who are successful in their own business and are not used to a league table being published every day in the papers and on TV in which their company is 15th or 16th out of 20. They can't take that, so they look for someone to blame. In business it is the chief executive, in football it is the manager, so they change him.

"If I went into their business I wouldn't know anything about it, but they come into football and think they know everything. Their view is: 'I'm a successful businessman, I make decisions.' They want to do things."

This tallies with tweets sent by Fernandes in the wake of Warnock's sacking in which he continually referred to himself as "a leader", and to making tough decisions. Tough, but not necessarily wise. In several cases, teams' fortunes have declined under new management, Newcastle and Blackburn post-Allardyce being good examples. In the ones where they have improved, such as Liverpool and Manchester City, there has often been such significant transfer investment that results would probably have picked up anyway.

That is likely to be the case at QPR. With a decent run of fixtures to come, and new players in defence, midfield and attack, Rangers should finish around 14th. They will do so, however, with a much higher wage bill to service, and limited means of raising revenue. Unless Fernandes has deep pockets he is prepared to dip into, Rangers will be looking for another owner, and thus, inevitably, another change of manager.

Taylor concluded: "If we are honest, most managers should be called head coach nowadays, they no longer manage. But look at three clubs where the manager has total control: Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton. All of them are doing a very good job." It'll never catch on.

All change: How new owners shake it up

Club / Buyer / When / Manager / Survived

Birmingham / Carson Yeung / Nov 2009 / Alex McLeish / 20 months

Blackburn / Venky's / Nov 2010 / Sam Allardyce / One month

Liverpool / John W Henry / Oct 2010 / Roy Hodgson / Three months

Man City / Sheikh Mansour / Aug 2008 / Mark Hughes / 16 months

Man Utd / Malcolm Glazer / May 2005 / Alex Ferguson / Still there

Newcastle / Mike Ashley / June 2007 / Sam Allardyce / Six months

QPR / Tony Fernandes / Aug 2011 / Neil Warnock / Four months

West Ham / David Gold & David Sullivan / May 2010 / Gianfranco Zola / One month

All clubs were in the Premier League at time of takeover

Five Asides

1. Hughes' relationship with Joorabchian pays off

Mark Hughes' association with Kia Joorabchian led to his being mocked for his defence of Carlos Tevez – another Joorabchian client – after the Argentine's alleged refusal to come off the bench for Manchester City in Munich, but it looks to have paid off in the long run. Would Hughes have got the QPR job without Joorabchian in his corner? The adviser (Joorabchian is not licensed to be an agent and eschews the description) had already been in contact with QPR while negotiating Alex's proposed move to Loftus Road from Chelsea, presumably affording him plenty of chances to promote his other client.

2. Are the big deals still to be done or are their days over?

Two weeks into the transfer window and the biggest deal to date is Darron Gibson's switch from Manchester United to Everton, for £500,000 rising to £2m. For all the talk by managers of getting deals done early, it seems the brinkmanship inherent in the process means the big moves of the transfer window will be done, as last year, in the closing days. That is if there are any big deals, Uefa's financial fair play initiative is beginning to bite.

3. Freeman is finally a free man after Arsenal cut him loose

One done deal that will have slipped past most people's radar, but is significant, was Luke Freeman's transfer from Arsenal to Stevenage. In 2007, Freeman became the youngest player to figure in the FA Cup when he played in the first round for Gillingham at 15 years and 233 days. Two months later, Arsenal paid a reported £200,000 for him. Since then, Freeman has played on loan to Yeovil and Stevenage but not for Arsenal, not even in the Carling Cup. Now 19, he will never know if he would have developed quicker if he had stayed at Gillingham, but it shows there are no guarantees, not even when joining a club whose focus on youth is as good as Arsenal's.

4. Broadcasters go for bore draws over romance tie

Booked the TV this week for Leicester v Nottingham Forest and Wolves v Birmingham? Thought not. Why have ITV and ESPN chosen these FA Cup replays, both goalless in the first tie, instead of going for non-League Wrexham's attempt to down the Championship's Brighton at the evocative Racecourse Ground? At least the winner of that tie will be on TV (with the accompanying cash windfall) when they host Newcastle in the fourth round.

5. Is it curtains for Robbie's demonstration of love?

Is Aston Villa the first club Robbie Keane has joined without professing to have previously supported them?

Glenn Moore's verdict on all the weekend action

Aston Villa v Everton

Odds: Home 7-5; Draw 9-4, Away 2-1.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1 10.20pm)

Team news: Shay Given returns from a hamstring injury for Aston Villa, while Robbie Keane is likely to start on the bench as he begins his loan spell from LA Galaxy. Emile Heskey (Achilles) is out for a month. Everton could hand a debut to new signing Darron Gibson, although Sylvain Distin (hamstring) misses out, with Shane Duffy likely to come in.

Blackburn v Fulham

Odds: Home 2-1; Draw 23-10, Away 11-8.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1 10.20pm)

Team news: Steve Kean hopes to welcome back Paul Robinson (calf), Junior Hoilett and David Dunn (both hamstring) from injury, along with the rested Chris Samba. Scott Dann (testicle) remains short of fitness. Fulham have Andrew Johnson (groin) and Simon Davies (back), while Dickson Etuhu and Mark Schwarzer are nearing returns.

Chelsea v Sunderland

Odds: Home 2-5; Draw 7-2, Away 15-2.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1 10.20pm)

Team news: Florent Malouda is a doubt for Chelsea after picking up a knock in last Sunday's win over Portsmouth, although Daniel Sturridge and John Terry are fit. Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel and Branislav Ivanovic are close to returns. Sunderland welcome back Nicklas Bendtner (knee) and long-term absentee Fraizer Campbell (knee).

Liverpool v Stoke

Odds: Home 2-5; Draw 100-30, Away 8-1.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC1 10.20pm)

Team news: Jose Enrique is likely to be recalled for Liverpool after missing the midweek win at Manchester City, but Jay Spearing (hamstring) is absent. Stoke manager Tony Pulis has a number of concerns over his players, with Jonathan Woodgate, Marc Wilson and Ryan Shotton all set to undergo late checks. Andy Wilkinson (knee) returns.

Man United v Bolton

Odds: Home 1-7; Draw 7-1, Away 16-1.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1 10.20pm)

Team news: Manchester United will give late checks to Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, while Anderson is also a doubt. Paul Scholes could start on the bench. Gary Cahill remains in Bolton manager Owen Coyle's plans as his protracted move to Chelsea rumbles on. Jussi Jaaskelainen (thigh) has a chance of returning in goal.

Tottenham v Wolves

Odds: Home 1-4; Draw 9-2, Away 12-1.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1 10.20pm)

Team news: Scott Parker (knee) remains a doubt for Tottenham, with Jake Livermore again likely to step in. Ledley King (hamstring) is out, while Aaron Lennon may be rested. Tom Huddlestone (ankle) has returned to training. Wolves have Nenad Milijas available after a ban, while defender Roger Johnson (ankle) also makes the squad.

West Brom v Norwich

Odds: Home 11-10; Draw 5-2, Away 14-5.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1 10.20pm)

Team news: West Bromwich Albion will give late checks to Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson (both calf), Jerome Thomas, Youssouf Mulumbu (both groin), Paul Scharner (Achilles) and Shane Long (back). Chris Brunt (ankle) remains out. Norwich welcome back goalkeeper John Ruddy (family), while Marc Tierney has returned to training.

Newcastle v QPR

Odds: Home 8-11; Draw 13-5, Away 4-1.

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 1.30pm (Sky Sports 1; Highlights BBC 2 10pm)

Team news: Danny Guthrie (groin) is back for Newcastle in place of the African Cup of Nations-bound Cheick Tioté. Sammy Ameobi (knee) is out for a few months. Mark Hughes is without Joey Barton (suspension), Adel Taarabt and Armand Traoré (African Cup) for his debut as QPR manager.

Swansea v Arsenal

Odds: Home 15-4; Draw 5-2, Away 4-5.

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 4pm (Sky Sports 1; Highlights BBC 2 10pm)

Team news: Brendan Rodgers will make changes to the Swansea line-up from the side that beat Barnsley last weekend, with Gylfi Sigurdsson in line for a full debut. Arsenal have Johan Djourou back from suspension, while Thierry Henry is pushing for a second full debut.

Wigan v Manchester City

Odds: Home 8-1; Draw 100-30, Away 2-5.

Kick-off: Monday, 8pm (Sky Sports 1; Highlights Sky Sports 1 12.30am)

Team news: Albert Crusat (back) returns to contention for Wigan, but Roberto Martinez is without Mohamed Diame (African Cup of Nations). Manchester City hope to have David Silva fit following an ankle injury, but Mario Balotelli (ankle) is a doubt and Vincent Kompany suspended.