LEAGUE G-ONE!

Kelly’s sack­ing makes it three i in a week...

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By John Lyons

OLD­HAM Ath­letic sacked man­ager Dar­ren Kelly af­ter yesterday’s 5-1 de­feat at the hands of Peterborough United – and made it a hat­trick of League One bosses dis­missed in a week.

Iron­i­cally, it was Peterborough who got the ball rolling on the sack­ing front when they axed Dave Robert­son last Sun­day.

On Tues­day, it was the turn of Don­caster Rovers to act, dis­miss­ing Paul Dickov.

Now Kelly’s dis­missal, af­ter just four months in charge, means the third tier has lost three man­agers be­fore the Cham­pi­onship and League Two have got rid of any.

In a state­ment last night, Old­ham said: “The board of di­rec­tors would like to place on record their thanks to Dar­ren for his con­tri­bu­tion to the de­vel­op­ment of the club dur­ing his ten­ure and wish him well for the fu­ture.

“The club will not be seek­ing any ap­pli­ca­tions for the role of first team man­ager at this time and can also con­firm that all the cur­rent coach­ing staff will re­main in their re­spec­tive roles.”

LAST sea­son the Cham­pi­onship proved the grave­yard for man­agers – this time around it looks like League One could take the un­wanted hon­our.

Of the 42 man­agers dis­missed in the Football League in 2014-15, al­most half – 20 – came from English football’s sec­ond tier. There were 12 sack­ings in League One and 10 in League Two.

In the past week, though, three League One bosses have been the first to bite the dust this term – with just a month of the sea­son gone.

Peterborough United man­ager Dave Robert­son was given his march­ing or­ders by chair­man Dar­ragh MacAn­thony last Sun­day with Posh ly­ing in 20th place with a record of one win, one draw and four league defeats to their name.

Re­warded

Posh stal­wart Robert­son, 41, had been ap­pointed care­taker-man­ager when Dar­ren Fer­gu­son was sacked in Fe­bru­ary and was then re­warded with the full-time post in May on a three-year con­tract.

But a slow start to the new sea­son meant Robert­son’s ten­ure was short-lived.

In a state­ment on the club’s web­site, MacAn­thony said:“Un­for­tu­nately af­ter yesterday’s re­sult (a 2-1 de­feat at Southend) and the man­ner of de­feat, I felt it was time to take ac­tion and make a change as it had be­come plain to see our young squad was un­der-per­form­ing and play­ing nowhere near their po­ten­tial.

“Make no mis­take, our play­ers must also shoul­der re­spon­si­bil­ity for this aw­ful start to the sea­son which has now led to a great per­son los­ing their job.”

If Robert­son’s dis­missal was the sign that chair­men were al­ready get­ting an itchy trig­ger fin­ger, then Paul Dickov’s exit at Don­caster Rovers two days later con­firmed it.

At the time of his ax­ing, Rovers lay 17th in the ta­ble with a record of one win, three draws and two defeats. The 42year-old’s fi­nal match in charge was last Satur­day’s 1-0 de­feat at Gilling­ham, who went top with the vic­tory.

The match was shrouded in con­tro­versy with for­mer Old­ham boss Dickov com­plain­ing that Jake Hessen­thaler’s win­ner for the Gills had not crossed the line.

In a state­ment, Rovers said Dickov, ap­pointed in May 2013, had left ‘based on per­for­mance to date’ and that ‘the board are am­bi­tious for a top six fin­ish and that is, and will re­main, our aim’.

To cap a week of man­age­rial may­hem, Old­ham Ath­letic boss Dar­ren Kelly, 36, was axed last night fol­low­ing a 5-1 thump­ing at home by, iron­i­cally, Peterborough, who had for­mer North­ern Ire­land in­ter­na­tional Grant McCann, 35, in tem­po­rary charge.

It left the Lat­ics in 19th place in League One with a haul of seven points from seven games. But it wasn’t a ma­jor shock that the for­mer Carlisle and York de­fender was dis­missed.

There were whis­per­ings in the week that Kelly was un­der pres­sure and he’d said: “All man­agers are con­stantly look­ing over our shoul­ders and we’re un­der no il­lu­sions as to what is ex­pected of us.”

Three man­age­rial changes so early in the sea­son will no doubt set alarm bells ring­ing for other bosses up and down the coun­try, es­pe­cially as none of the trio were even in the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

In­sta­bil­ity

The League Man­agers’As­so­ci­a­tion are also sure to be con­cerned that last sea­son’s high num­ber of dis­missals could be the start of a pat­tern set to con­tinue. The num­ber was only ex­ceeded in 2001-02 (53).

In last sea­son’s end of term re­port, the LMA said: “Short-ter­mism is the one pres­sure in the game that can be ad­dressed more read­ily than any of the oth­ers and avoid­ing it will un­doubt­edly de­liver a sport that of­fers a more sta­ble ca­reer path­way for those that want to be­come coaches and man­agers.”

While McCann got off to a great start, Don­caster care­taker Rob Jones, 35, saw his side lose 2-0 at high-fly­ing Wal­sall.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

SEC­OND TO EXIT: Don­caster Rovers boss Paul Dickov FIRST TO GO: Peterborough boss Dave Robert­son

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