The first change in manager on Day One was something I hadn’t expected.
Well it didn’t take long did it? I know the season starts earlier than ever (next thing we know the first game will be in July), but to see the first change in manager on Day One was something I hadn’t expected.
If you look at the long-term form of Huddersfield, it wasn’t perhaps that surprising for Mark Robins to leave. But the timing seemed so strange.
The Premier League, however, refused to be upstaged. Tony Pulis then walked out of Selhurst Park the day before the top-flight games got underway. I’m sure some Albion fans may have had a sly chuckle at the uncertainty at Crystal Palace before a ball was kicked, but it appears that now anything is possible when it comes to managerial change in football.
Of course, Seagulls supporters themselves have seen three different managers in three seasons. The familiar style of play the team adopted under Gus Poyet is now fading, as are the familiar players themselves, and Oscar Garcia’s departure has now prompted the arrival of Sami Hyypiä.
The challenges facing the new manager and the club during the transfer window were, and are, plain to see. But I was so pleased the former Liverpool player managed to secure his first league win on Tuesday night. The first 45 minutes were the best I have witnessed in some time. It was also noticeable that the Finn was more visible in the technical area, which is another positive for me.
Expectation was so high after consecutive top six finishes in the last two years that two league defeats seemed to get everyone very twitchy. On paper, the opening six games or so seem eminently winnable, but this is the Championship, as Fulham are finding. Felix Magath may well be the next casualty.
Last year, Albion also began the season with two defeats, but then two wins and a period of six games unbeaten. A similar run this season would give Hyypiä a firm foundation as winter approaches and also the opportunity to put his own imprint on the club.
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