McCarthy pays the price for losing the support of Wolves owner Morgan
Thursday 16 February 2012
Mick McCarthy was sacked by Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, 24 hours after West Bromwich Albion dealt a crushing blow to Wolves’ chances of staying in the Premier League with a 5-1 victory at Molineux. The sacking ended a five-and-a-half year spell in the Midlands for the former Republic of Ireland manager.
With Wolves’ status in the top-flight under threat - the defeat to the Baggies left Wolves in the drop zone behind Blackburn Rovers on goal difference - Chairman Steve Morgan decided to act, dispensing with McCarthy with 13 games of the season remaining. Perhaps influenced by the revitalisation of Sunderland under Martin O’Neill, Morgan has made a decision that some seasoned Wolves watchers have already claimed was likely dating back to events of the summer.
Tim Nash, writing in the Wolverhampton Express and Star said he had his first inkling McCarthy’s days were numbered during the close season. Nash wrote: “It was a sunny afternoon last June when I got a call that set alarm bells ringing…It came from a trusted contact…“I think this is going to be Mick’s last season,” said the voice.” The article goes on to list a host of names McCarthy pursued but was unable to sign when the club declined to make the funds available, including Craig Gardner, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Wayne Bridge.
Whether any of those players could have improved Wolves’ situation is an unanswerable question, but it appears Morgan’s faith in McCarthy was lacking before the season got underway. The fair on show in McCarthy’s last match and throughout the season evidently did little to generate support from the Chairman for the now ex-boss. Wolves were ragged against Albion, and the ease with which the players’ heads dropped once Roy Hodgson’s side went ahead just after the hour mark was a sorry sight to see. Coupled with a lack of creativity, that defensive disorganisation proved McCarthy’s downfall - Wolves have now conceded the most goals at home of any side in the division.
Former Charlton Athletic and West Ham manager Alan Curbishley, a name seemingly linked to every Premier League vacancy since he left Upton Park in 2008, was co-incidentally live on Sky Sports News when word of McCarthy’s sacking broke. Curbishley was immediately installed as the favourite for the job, and, according to his agent, will speak with Wolves this week. Curbishley’s agent, Phil Smith, told Press Association: “[Wolves] have said themselves they have invited him to see them. I'm not going to go into when [the interview] is going to happen, other than to say it's imminent.”
With a number of other names reportedly in the frame with more recent Premier League experience, including Steve Bruce and Neil Warnock who left Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers respectively this season, the meeting between Wolves and Curbishley would suggest he is indeed the preferred option. Whether Curbishley can succeed where McCarthy failed and retain the backing of his boss Morgan will determine much about his likely Wolves posting.
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