Managers will get sacked!

Okay, I admit it. It's a negative theme to cover before a ball has even been kicked. In fact, it probably divides opinion amongst football supporters of all clubs more than the merits of their club's transfer acquisitions.

Should he stay? Should he go? And, did we really get the right man to match our ambitions for the season ahead? Are probably questions being debated right around the country - even this early!

But let me set the record straight now. If I had a penny for every Barnsley fan who has asked me what I thought of the appointment of Hill and Flitcroft at Oakwell, let's say I would be a millionaire (well, have at least enough cash for a good old oiling at The Full House Pub).

My opinion is simple. On this occasion, the Barnsley FC Board have appointed well on the credentials that this management team can offer our club. And before I get drawn in to a debate on the players we have so far recruited, none of us will know how these lads will perform until they step over the white line in a red shirt.

Hill and Flitcroft
One thing I am certain of, the players coming in to Barnsley can hardly be described as journeymen or lacking in ambition. Most, if not all, have been working inside clubs on the climb, in a positive environment, who will also feel that their careers have improved massively in joining Barnsley FC and will be excited about the season ahead. That's in stark contrast to the fare served by successive regimes, where loan players have been lavishly sprinkled around the squad, eager for their next move away from Oakwell or the retirement home!

Keith Hill and David Flitcroft have captured the assignment ahead at Oakwell perfectly so far, bringing more balance to the back-line and the general spine of the team, well at least on paper. But you also have to remember the League Cup game against their former club Rochdale, when the Reds were undone on 56 minutes by Anthony Eldin (a free summer signing from Kettering) and were forced to squander a hatful of opportunities. If we follow that style we will persevere and frustrate many so called big teams both at home and away. The new management partnership in my opinion will prevail and improve the football at Barnsley Football Club.

So, what about the rest?

Odds on the sack race must be created by some fomula - surely? If Einstein was around, he would have created the perfect system. It would probably be based on something like this (apologies Maths geniuses).

Expectation (Value = Promotion Certainties @ 100 decreasing in scale) x4
+ Points Accumulated
- Points Lost
+ Positive Press in Column Inches
- Negative Press in Column Inches
+ Board Room Opinion (Value @ 100 for "he's a jolly good fellow" and decreasing in scale)

And by my reckoning, a manager with no press coverage whatsoever on this scale can only score 638 points - until the media get their teeth in to him. So where does the true measure lie?

Current betting odds, suggest the following ...

Nigel Pearson (Hull City) 6/1
Steve Cotterill (Portsmouth) 6/1
Sean O'Driscoll (Doncaster Rovers) 7/1
Nigel Clough (Derby) County) 8/1
Keith Millen (Bristol City) 8/1
Andy Thorn (Coventry City) 8/1
Simon Grayson (Leeds United) 8/1
Eddie Howe (Burnley) 10/1
Sven Goran Eriksson (Leicester City) 10/1
Dougie Freedman (C.Palace) 10/1
Darren Ferguson (Peterborough) 12/1

Your guess is as good as mine in this respect. Are the managers topping this list there as a result of expected changes in the board room? Are expectations at all of these clubs completely out of sync with all reality? Time will tell once more.

Incidentally, Keith Hill sits in 15th position on this list. With around half of the managers in the NPower Championship leaving their jobs last season, don't expect any movement on that front at Oakwell this time out.

Personally, I agree with Keith Hill when he says that Barnsley will travel beneath the radar this season. The press and wider general football opinion gives The Reds little hope this time round. So with absolutely nothing to lose and no formula for prediction, I can't wait for the 2011/2012 campaign to start.

I'm entitled to dream my own dreams and boy ... some sides are going to receive a proper humbling!

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Ian Wilkinson

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