Glass ceiling

Last Updated: 11/01/12 3:32pm

Last night on the radio, I was listening to a debate about QPR and Neil Warnock. The overwhelming conclusion was that it was time for him to go, that Mark Hughes had a pedigree that Warnock just couldn't compete with, and would be able to sign players that maybe the former boss couldn't.

When Neil got fired I was surprised and I thought it was harsh. He'd got QPR into the Premier League and they were competing. I'm not sure what the bosses expected. New sides are always likely to be involved in a relegation scrap in their first season.

I've banged on in this column about how managers need time to bring in their ideas and success. But I can understand QPR's logic to a certain degree. Hughes has played for Man United and Barcelona, he has managed at international level and - for what is a now - a top four club in Manchester City -he's got contacts. Rumours of Alex and Chris Samba going there might indicate that he can attract bigger players.

But to be fair to Neil Warnock, he managed to persuade Joey Barton, amongst others, to go to Loftus Road. I've interviewed Neil and he's a good man and a very good manager. And what seems unfair to me is this. Is he destined, like many other managers, to be seen as someone who can get your team to the Premier League but go no further?

How does a manager get to prove himself if he doesn't get the chance? And that means a three-year stab at it at least. Fortunately there are some clubs who are standing by their managers at the moment. At Bolton, Owen Coyle has done an amazing job - and a combination of misfortune and injuries have definitely contributed to their league position right now.

Faith

I guess Neil must be looking at the faith Bolton, Wigan and Blackburn are currently showing their managers and wondering exactly what he's done wrong. And when you look at the job Tony Pulis has done at Stoke, I tend to think with time Neil could have done something similar.

And look. The Premier League isn't easy. Three clubs have to go down every year. They're the facts. We all know it (apart from perhaps the Venkys!). But chairmen panic when their club is near the foot of the table and the prize is so great I understand that.

I've read in a few papers that Premier League clubs who have fired their managers in January tend to be five points better off at the end of the season than those who didn't - and then just look at the impact Martin O'Neill has had at Sunderland since taking over.

So I'm sitting on the fence. I can understand what QPR have done, but it just doesn't seem quite fair on the man who's taken them this far. Although I guess it's not all bad if you're a manager who gets fired. You get given a boot load of cash and time off to have a holiday. It's a first-world problem.

Finally

It's the Dance Off this week. Since I got stitched up by Tubes last year during his question, and just about got away with it, I'm hoping that it doesn't happen again this year. As I said, if Helen does it, I'll do it. And Helen isn't going to do it. So I'm not going to do it. I did my dancing this year already (video).

Have a good week, or as they say in Ancient Rome: bonum habere septimana

Max