THE BLOG

Coming Over Here, Taking Our Jobs, Making Things Better...

16/01/2014 12:48 GMT | Updated 16/03/2014 09:59 GMT

The funfair that is the football season is more than halfway done, and everyone's favourite attraction, the managerial merry-go-round, is in full swing, playing its merry tune and flinging gaffers of its slippery, cash-driven horses, as others take their turn to try and stay in the saddle, hanging on to the greasy pole.

Thus far, 24 managers have left their jobs, 18 of them in the Football League. Interestingly, while many clubs have gone for fairly predictable replacements, some have thought outside of the box. Middlesbrough, for example, were linked with a host of out of work English managers, but instead plumped for Spaniard Aitor Karanka, with no prior direct experience of the English game, and indeed no managerial experience at all.

Also, when Wigan rid themselves of Owen Coyle after six months, the names of Neil Warnock, Alan Curbishley and Ian Holloway predictably floated to the top of the bookies' odds. But, as they have done before, they went for a promising foreign boss, poaching Uwe Rosler from Brentford. Carlisle also thought outside the box in September, sacking their long-term English manager, Greg Abbott, for an inexperienced Irishman, Graham Kavanagh; whilst Watford didn't go full English after Gianfranco Zola resigned, but kept their manager's post as the Italian job, with Giuseppe Sannino appointed despite having never managed outside of Italy and not speaking a lick of English.

This has led some to raise the question of whether this is setting a worrying trend for English managers, who have long since been universally considered long away from favourites for Premier League positions - recently proven by the appointments of Ole Solskjaer and Pepe Mel at Cardiff and West Brom respectively - that whether good jobs in the Football League are being kept away from them as well.

However, I think that we should welcome a fair smattering of non-English managers in the lower divisions. New ideas should always be welcomed, and foreign managers often bring something refreshingly different to their English charges.

Oscar Garcia at Brighton is a case in point. After a slow start they are now playing the best football in the Championship, and into the top six. It's not all about silk from these Spaniards however. Karanka, a former international centre-back, has set about plugging a Boro defence that was shipping goals for fun in the early months of the campaign. A play-off push is now not out the question for the Teesiders.

As for Rosler, he is practically an adopted Englishman in any case. A legend at Manchester City, he took his first managerial post at Brentford, and after an establishing season, put together a smashing squad last year, played great football, and got them a crossbar width away from the Championship. After a good start this year, I'm delighted to see him get an opportunity to make the step up. At the time of writing, he is yet to lose as Wigan manager.

In the end, foreign managers in the lower leagues is not something to be feared, but embraced. Anyway, if English managers can't get jobs here, hopefully it will drive them abroad. We need more adventurous bosses from this island to hop over the channel and try their luck on the continent.

It worked for Roy Hodgson, and Steve McLaren is a much better manager now for his spells with Twente and Wolfsburg. John Gregory arrived back in England last year after spells in Israel and Kazakhstan, to take charge of Crawley. For me, in the long term, that could be the shrewdest appointment of them all.