Anthony Brown: What happened to cream of ’08?

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AS the second boss of an Edinburgh club is sacked less than half-way into the season, a quick glance at what has befallen the dozen men who were in charge of our SPL teams exactly three years ago underlines the perils of trying to forge a career as a football manager.

At the risk of putting the fear of death into all present top-flight bosses, incredibly, only four of the 12 men who led SPL clubs from the start of the 2008/09 season are still in football management. Two – Craig Levein and Mixu Paatelainen – have bettered themselves in terms of the job they currently hold, while another two – Gus MacPherson and Billy Reid – are in the First Division. Seven of the other eight, alarmingly, can be considered unemployed, with Craig Brewster, who was at Inverness in 2008, at least still in football as Crawley Town first-team coach.

Of those out the game, Walter Smith opted out, while Jim Jefferies, who was busy keeping Kilmarnock in the SPL three years ago, has only been sidelined since being harshly sacked by Hearts in August. You get the feeling he’ll be back in football soon enough, possibly even as Colin Calderwood‘s successor at Hibs. Then again, Gordon Strachan, nearing the end of a successful reign at Celtic three years ago, might have thought the same when he was ousted by Middlesbrough just over a year ago. But perhaps it’s the fate of the other four which is most astounding. Three years ago, you’d have got long odds on Csaba Laszlo, Mark McGhee, John Hughes and Jimmy Calderwood all being out of work just a few years later. They were prospering at Hearts, Motherwell, Falkirk and Aberdeen and all looked destined for bigger things. But for one reason or another, their careers have stagnated.

There’s time yet for all of them to get things back on track, possibly even via the Easter Road gig. But anyone in football management would do well to take heed of the following motto: one day you’re cock of the walk, the next a feather duster.

Not a fan of . .

THE current predicament of the Capital clubs. It’s been worrying to see Hearts have its name dragged through the gutter amid the late wages scandal. Meanwhile, Hibs may be well-run, but they desperately need to get their next managerial appointment right, as their fed-up fans are at breaking point.

Hats off to . . .

Billy Sharp. Absolutely no contest this week. The Doncaster striker was nothing short of heroic when he played against Middlesbrough last Tuesday night, just days after his two-day-old son tragically died. To put aside his heartache and then score a brilliant goal will go down as feat of the season.