Managerial movements

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini did very well indeed at Inter earlier, winning three championships, but he tends to be an abrasive figure who makes somewhat contentious decisions, writes Brian Glanville.

Schandeneredie is the German word meaning taking pleasure in other people's misfortunes and I have to admit that when things go wrong at Manchester City, as quite frequently it does, I am hardly displeased, with the Sheikh Mansour ready and able to pour billions into the club and thus distorting even the distorted Premiership, alias the greed is good league, still further, the latest crisis involving Carlos Tevez is hardly distressing.

The rights and wrong of the stand off which may even have been resolved, if only by still more money, are not easy to determine. One day Tevez states that despite a brief brush with manager Roberto Mancini, when he was substituted almost at the very end of a game, all is sweet and light between them.

Then in the blink of an eye we learn that Tevez is dead set on leaving the club though he insists it's nothing to do with Mancini: although the former Inter manager and Sampdoria and Italy star tends to be at odds with his star players not least with the talented but somewhat turbulent Craig Bellamy who scored many a good goal for City but disliked Mancini's training methods and was duly sent off on loan a division lower to Cardiff City.

Tevez is the highest paid player in the club and beyond doubt one of the best and most incisive in the Premier League He insists that his problem is with people in the City hierarchy, which is widely assumed to be the chief hugely paid executive, garrulous Garry Cook. The man who absurdly and mindlessly accused Milan of “Bottling it” when they wouldn't sell City their Brazilian star Kaka. The man who declared that he found the club's former owner, Thaksin Shinawatra, a delightful fellow, when in the former President of Thailand was run out of Bangkok on a rail, accused of massive peculation, and was accused by Amnesty International of having dissidents tortured, hostile minorities gunned down, no, for all his loud mouthed attitudes, garrulous Gary is not American, though that for some years is where he found fame and fortune with one of the biggest sports goods businesses.

Mancini did very well indeed at Inter, winning three championships, but he tends to be an abrasive figure who makes somewhat contentious decisions, though you had to sympathise with him when several of his players took it upon themselves to go for a golfing holiday in Scotland where alcohol was consumed in some quantity.

One of those players was the young winner Adam Johnson who is one of the very few English internationals to look truly convincing. He himself admitted he was out of order on his Scottish trip, but he surely had every reason to present the fact that despite his fine form with England he starts so many City games as a substitute.

Then there is the 20-year-old maverick Mario Balotelli, the highly gifted but notoriously, rebellious Italian international striker of Ghanaian origin, bought for a massive GBP24million from Inter. There, Mancini seemed to be a able to handle him somewhat better than his successor at Inter. Name other than the “Special One” himself, Jose Mourinho, who didn't even take Balotelli off the bench in the European Cup final. But at City, Balotelli has been collecting red and yellow cards and in the recent game at West Ham walked furiously off the field when Mancini substituted him, immediately after he had received a yellow card. Meanwhile, the profusion of highly expensive talent acquired by City makes for anything but a happy and contended dressing room.

At Newcastle United, the ineffable owner, Mike Ashley, struck yet again kicking out Chris Hughton who, first as temporary manager then in the full role, had expertly taken the Magpies back into the Premiership at his first attempt. I've known Chris for many years, first as an exponent Irish international fullback with Spurs, then as their coach. The words was all along that he couldn't and wouldn't last because he wasn't a glittering enough figure: though what had the former Magpies hero Alan Shearer done as manager, when the club slid into relegation and what had Kevin Keegan, now breaking a lance for Hughton, done on his return to St. James' Park? Hughton, meanwhile had established the big and powerful young Andy Carroll, a local product, as an England centre forward and was even getting good performances out of that notorious recidivist and former jail bird, the Liverpudlian Jamie Barton.

Yes, Barton has recently served yet another three game suspension for striking Blackburn's Martin Olsen, but when he does play for the Magpies in midfield he tends to play well. Not least in the first Newcastle game with Alan Pardew as new manager, (supported by Barton) a convincing win at home to Liverpool after which Barton expressed his solidarity with Hughton. to Pardew himself, though a competent enough coach, ex West Ham, Charlton and Southampton, is hardly in the Mourinho range. Ashley, loathed by the Magpies fans, has gone through almost enough managers to make a football team in a few years. He'd love to sell the club, having sunk so much money into it: but who would buy it? Not a bidder in sight at the moment.

At another mega rich club, though less so than Manchester City, in the shape of Chelsea, manager Carlo Ancelotti has been told by the owner, the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, that he will stay despite a string of bad results and the crises caused when popular Ray Wilkins was shown the door as assistant coach. But, as we know, the team has been falling apart, and the recent return of Frank Lampard to midfield after long absences may perhaps bring more solidity and more success.

At Tottenham, Harry Redknapp is riding high, with a team which has gone through to the knock out second stage of the European Cup. There is even talk of Harry, ebullient Cockney, supreme transfer wheeler-dealer he hates the term, becoming next England manager. Yet Tottenham's form still seems to be erratic, especially in defence, giving three European goals away to modest Twente Enschede in Holland: which was hardly Cup winning form.