Season 6 – Blackburn Rovers, Championship
Media Prediction: 16th
Board Expectations: Top Half
In the summer Blackburn approached me for an interview again, but this time offered me the job.
I had a problem in that the previous manager left me with a squad of players that weren’t good enough to compete at Championship level, either because they were young players with lots of potential but weren’t quite ready, or that they were once class players who were on the slippery slope of decline.
I struggled to bring anyone in with a £3m transfer budget and lost two of my most important players to Premier League clubs.
This job just never got going, and after three months without a win I was getting fed up. I saw that the Sunderland job was available (they are still in League One) and applied.
I was immediately sacked by Blackburn, without even being called into the Chairman’s office. I can’t even say I was upset.
At time of leaving:
League Record: P:10 | W:0 | D:3 | L:7 | F:5 | A:19 | Pts:3
League Position: 24th
League Cup: 1st Round (Fleetwood Town)
Season 6.5 – Crewe Alexandra, League One
Media Prediction: 16th
Board Expectations: Avoid Relegation
I was out of work for about 7 weeks, during which time I was interviewed for positions at a few clubs, before finally being offered a chance to get back into management at Crewe Alexandra of League One.
When I joined they were 23rd in the table, and out of both the League Cup and EFL Trophy, which would explain why the previous manager was sacked.
The squad looked okay in quality with some good young players, but I was unsure of the board insisting on playing attacking football. To me that doesn’t lend very well to a relegation battle!
We did okay in our relegation scrap, but lots of frustrating things happened, particularly in January when some bigger clubs unsettled my superstar 19 year old striker.
We eventually sold him for £6m, but not until late in the window. After the deal went through I realised I should have put a loan back clause in, but before I could get him back he had joined Shrewbury on loan.
Guess who scored their equaliser when we met later in the season… Anyway, I brought in a few players to boost the team for the final few months, but despite an upturn in form we were relegated on the final day of the season when we lost at Ipswich Town and other results went against us.
League Record: P:46 | W:12 | D:14 | L:20 | F:55 | A:67 | Pts:50
League Position: 22nd
FA Cup: 4th Round (Walsall)
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