The Managerial Merry-Go-Round is the name given to the tedious process by which, midway through every season, around thirty of the League’s most mediocre clubs sack their manager and replace him with a manager of identical quality from the pool.
After each new manager has been endorsed by his new chairman as having ‘a great vision for the club’ and being ‘someone who can take us forward’, they all spend the next twelve months with their new teams, grafting away in mid-table exactly as they did before. After a patchy run in the League, they are all sacked again, and the process begins all over again.
Managerial merry-go-round participants are recognisable on televised games as they look haggard and confused, and often have to wear a tracksuit with the previous manager’s initials on, as the club cannot be bothered to get a new one printed. While owned by fickle, football-illiterate plutocrat Milan Mandaric, Leicester City had a tracksuit with two question marks in place of initials. In post-match interviews, merry-go-round managers are not sufficiently familiar with their players to refer to them by nicknames or even first names, and so will use formal constructions e.g. ‘Mr James Scowcroft had a good game’.
The term was coined by Vivian Darkbloom just as the internet was beginning to take off.
Inspirational captain-turned-awful-manager Bryan Robson is a regular passenger on the Merry-Go-Round. To date, he has arrived at twenty-nine clubs saying that the opportunity is ‘too good to turn down’, and left each one exactly a year later by ‘mutual consent’. He is one of the country’s leading authorities on short-to-medium-term property rentals.
In the 1980s and 1990s, diminutive relegation-battle-specialist Dave ‘Harry’ Bassett boarded the merry-go-round continually. During a televised cup-tie between Barnsley and Sheffield United in 1992, touchline cameras showed Bassett – seemingly unable to keep tabs on which of the two teams he was managing these days – shouting instructions at both sets of players.
In early 2008 it was reported that theme park Chessington World of Adventures was planning the first physical Managerial Merry-Go-Round: a carousel whose seats, rather than horses and donkeys, are all itinerant bosses. A team of craftsman was brought in from overseas to sculpt realistic bags under Alan Curbishley’s eyes.