“A return of two wins in 11 Premier League games is clearly not in line with the targets that were agreed and set. Sheikh Mansour and the Board felt that there was no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change.I appreciate that I'm a bit behind with this - there were whispers in the 'papers this morning, rumours this afternoon and confirmation this evening. But I didn't want to jump straight in with reaction, given how big this news is. I've thought about this for a while now and I think that it is a preposterous decision. To sack Mark Hughes mid season is destructive and devious. In May it was announced, publicly and unambiguously, that the target for the 2009/10 season was a sixth placed finish. Not only have the board not given Hughes the opportunity to meet that target, they have sacked him when he was on course to do so. Yes, two wins in eleven is not good enough. But we are currently in possession of sixth place. And six points from fourth with a game in hand. And in a League Cup semi final. I've found the last few months as frustrating as anyone but there is something quite underhand about not even allowing the manager to complete a pre-agreed probation period. It was the same with Thaksin: he told Eriksson that top ten was the target, we finished ninth, but he sacked Sven anyway. It's a very bad way of doing things.
So that, in brief, is why I think it was wrong to sack him in December. The one possible justification for doing so would be if we had a window of opportunity to bring in a genuinely top bracket manager - a Guus Hiddink or a José Mourinho. In such a circumstance I could better stomach this sacking. But we haven't replaced him with Hiddink or Mourinho, we've gone for Roberto Mancini. This is a man who has been out of work for the past eighteen months and has no other job offers on the horizon. He's not exactly in a rush. There is no doubt that if we wanted Mancini to take over for the 2010/11 season he would be keen to do so. So the decision to go for Mancini presented no good reason for sacking Hughes half way through this season.
I'll blog about this more tomorrow but I basically think that Roberto Mancini is a bad choice. He won three titles in a not very competitive Serie A, but has no Premier League experience. Yes, he could be a José Mourinho. But to me he looks more like a Juande Ramos. As I wrote above, I would have been disappointed to have lost Hughes for Mourinho today. And I would have been underwhelmed to lose Hughes for Mancini next summer. But to sack Hughes in mid-season to replace him with a man with a decent CV and time on his hands? It stinks.
People have often said recently that Manchester City have sold our soul to the money men, that we are not what we once are. I don't agree with it because it ignores the role of the fans. But today it was proven totally wrong: we're the same fucking shambles we've always been.