Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Sanchez abandons NI and their fans

I must say I was very surprised when I learned Fulham had sacked their manager Chris Coleman, but the fact that the man chosen to replace him is NI manager Lawrie Sanchez seems to have come out of nowhere.

I have long had my doubts about his commitment to the "wee" fans of NI and it seems I was right to be sceptical.

Of course we have the typical guff coming from the IFA and Sanchez himself trying to reassure NI fans that he "remains committed" but when one reads between the lines it's clear his heart is not in his current job. According to IFA chief executive Howard Wells...

"Dave McNally (managing director) of Fulham phoned me last night seeking permission to speak to Lawrie.

"Lawrie then spoke to me himself asking what our view was.

"It is a short-term appointment, he has given another commitment to me with regards to seeing out his contract with Northern Ireland."

But why did Lawrie Sanchez want to know Wells' view if he is committed to NI? Could it be that the lure of managing in the Premiership takes precedence over managing 'Norn Iron'? Obviously. Wells added:

"Fulham have also given me a commitment that this is an appointment until the end of the season.

"If circumstances change they will want to discuss things further with us."

In other words NI fans, you better pray Sanchez proves a flop at Fulham otherwise he's outta here!

Anyone who follows football knows how this sort of thing works. Sanchez will dip his toes into the waters of top-level management and will soon want to abandon the morass that is the NI set-up. And you NI fans thought things were going so well!

I think Chris Coleman was doing a good job at Fulham and that the club should have shown more faith in him. Yes the team has had a miserable run of late but I think they should have got behind him. Sanchez hasn't got much time to save Fulham and he is an unknown quantity in the Premiership.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out. NI fans though find themselves faced with a dilemma. Do they hope for Sanchez to fail at Fulham so he can remain their manager, or do they support him at Fulham knowing that a successful spell will mean the end of his tenure in Belfast?


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