Looking back at 2011: A turbulent year for football

Former Doncaster Rovers boss Sean O'Driscoll
Former Doncaster Rovers boss Sean O'Driscoll

WHO would have predicted all three of our Football League sides would have switched managers during 2011?

Sean O’Driscoll, Mark Robins and Ronnie Moore appeared to have three of the safest jobs in football at the start of the year.

Yet, as 2012 rolls into view, all three are out of work.

Moore’s was the most plausible departure as he struggled to deliver the promotion Rotherham United so desperately want.

For a few seasons now, this has seemed like a simple task.

But as Andy Scott has already discovered, the task of resurrecting the Millers is definitely not simple.

Scott may have experienced the obligatory blip at the right time and now seems to have Rotherham heading in the right direction.

The squad at his disposal is definitely good enough, but so are those of quite a few clubs in League Two this season.

A grandious ground like New York Stadium needs football beyond League Two.

Scott has that pressure hanging over him heading into the New Year.

Robins’ career now looks to have taken a backward step rather than a forward one since leaving Barnsley.

The true story behind his departure will likely never become public knowledge, but if he departed due to a perceived lack of ambition on the club’s part, his decision may have been something of a premature one.

Keith Hill and Dave Flitcroft have done a fantastic job in showing what can be done on a small budget.

Wise purchases and brilliant tactical brains have made the Reds one of the Championship’s surprise packages this term.

Hill has repeatedly said his only aim for Barnsley this season is survival but he may get much more.

Neither of these two departures was as shocking as that of O’Driscoll.

Doncaster chairman John Ryan made ill-advised comments suggesting O’Driscoll would not be sacked.

A day later, O’Driscoll had gone and Dean Saunders was sat in his chair, quick as a flash.

But there was not just a switching of managers.

Dean Saunders’ arrival brought with it an entire change in the club’s philosphy.

No longer was Doncaster Rovers the little engine that could, it had dreams of being a powerhouse, driven by big name players.

Arriving with Saunders was super-agent Willie McKay, complete with one of the best contacts books in football.

McKay brought with him one of those ideas you simply cannot believe has never been done before.

Provide out of favour and out of contact players with a ‘shop window’ to display their wares in the hope they can earn a move in the next transfer window.

The idea initially brought reactionary bile, and it was easy to respond in that manner as controversial figures such as El Hadji Diouf and Pascal Chimbonda arrived.

But the upsetting of the apple cart predicted by naysayers did not come as Diouf and co proved the perfect gentlemen while producing the most passionate performances.

For the sake of our Football League trio, let us hope 2012 is a much more stable year.

Happy New Year.