The job of prime minister is not the only big vacancy that’s proving difficult to fill with somebody vaguely competent, as those in charge of hiring and firing at Wolverhampton Wanderers can attest. Without a manager for more than a fortnight since showing Bruno Lage the door, the West Midlands side were initially turned down by former Spain, Madrid and Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui, and have now been rejected by a comparative novice with far less pedigree.
In his first managerial job since leaving his role as Steven Gerrard’s sidekick to take over at QPR in June, on Wednesday Michael Beale steered the Rs to the Championship summit. After the win over Cardiff that put them there, Beale revealed he wasn’t prepared to jump at just any old offer. “I am picky,” he tooted. “I had other offers as a coach at Aston Villa and had questions before coming here. I had offers when at Rangers. You have to weigh up everything.” On Thursday morning it was revealed Beale had decided against a move to Molineux, either out of loyalty to QPR … or because he’s been tipped the wink there might soon be a managerial vacancy at Villa.
So what now for Wolves, who lost again on Tuesday and whose hierarchy have been forced back to the drawing board in their hunt from somebody to lead them out of the relegation zone and up the table? Well, following the latest petulant hissy-fit thrown by Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford, The Fiver has had – whisper it – quite a good idea. Given the club’s status as the Premier League’s unofficial Portuguese Quarter and their desperation for a proven goalscorer, who better for Wolves recruitment consultant and Ronaldo’s Mr 50% Jorge Mendes to appoint in a player-manager role than a five-time Ballon d’Or-winning striker, whose relationship with his current employers appears to be heading into irretrievable meltdown?
Admittedly, Wolves might not be able to match his financial demands but The Fiver can’t help but feel old Ronnie might be prepared to take a significant pay-cut if he could guarantee himself 90 minutes of first-team football every game, particularly with two to come this season against Manchester United. And while he may not be technically qualified for the job, he does have managerial experience. The Fiver recalls that occasion he completely undermined national team manager Fernando Santos by tactic-ing Portugal to victory in the final of Euro 2016 from the technical area after he’d been carried off the pitch in tears.
Cajoling, gesticulating and manhandling from the sidelines like a cross between Thérèse Coffey and Jacob Rees-Mogg at voting time in the House of Commons, he managed to make an occasion that wasn’t really about him all about him. The Fiver implores you, Wolves to do the right thing. Gi’ it Ronaldo ‘til end o’ season.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We were actually quite chilled about the game. There was no expectation on us this evening, and sometimes you can relish those moments” – two-goal Guest Beth Mead reflects on Arsenal’s remarkable 5-1 shoeing of Women’s Big Cup champions Lyon in France (also the first time Lyon had lost by a four-goal margin since 2006).
Big Website is shortlisted in the upcoming FSA Awards, along with David Squires, Suzanne Wrack, Barney Ronay and Football Weekly. If you want to lend them your vote, you can do so here.
“The last person to spend 44 days in charge of a failing institution was promptly interviewed on live TV alongside their divisive predecessor. So which poor broadcasting sap gets the Austin Mitchell gig now? And if footsteps are then followed to Nottingham Forest, surely taking them into Europe would indicate abject failure?” – Adrian Armstrong.
“Before the Wolves board panics and contacts National League South managers, they should think right outside the box for their new manager. Liz Truss would be the obvious choice. Initiatives such as starting the goalkeeper at centre forward would follow, and she would come in very useful for finding the budget cuts when they get relegated in May” – Michelle Brooks.
“It was nice of Antonio Conte to be true to his word in ensuring Spurs played with their personality on full display at Old Trafford” – Patrick O’Brien.
“As a resident of Canada where marijuana was legalised about five years ago now, I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments from Ben Mostyn (yesterday’s Fiver letters). I support Spurs and there have been many occasions that my paranoia has been in the red zone, although that may not all be down to my weed consumption” – Nick Jones.
“Re: Tin shortages (Fiver passim). No need to worry about the lack of it (or Lata in Portuguese) in Vilankulo, Mozambique, where I’m currently residing, as the Africa Cup of Nations Beach Soccer tournament kicks off on Friday. Plenty of time, then, to look out for The Fiver’s estranged old colonial uncle, Tio Estranho João Seiscentos Meticais” – Gerry Rickard.
“From Wrexham suit Humphrey Ker’s club website column: ‘I discovered last week that Milan’s data analysis department are, and I quote, “fascinated” with [Wrexham central defender] Ben Tozer and the number of throw-in assists … 15 in the last two years is unbelievable … they can’t get over it. Anticipating his head being turned by the bright lights and glamour in January, the club is investigating topping up his bonuses with an Armani Exchange voucher and a meal for two at the Bella Italia in Chester’” – David Candler.