Analysing the eight summer managerial changes in the Championshipby Mike Holden / 18 August 2016, 11:48Tweet
As always the Championship proved to be all chop-and-change during the summer, with eight clubs appointing a new man at the helm. Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) runs us through the new additions and what each club can expect this season.
Roberto Di Matteo (Aston Villa)
If you can't be good, be lucky. That seems to be Roberto Di Matteo's motto. There's nothing extraordinary about his methods but how do you mock a CV that lists a promotion to the Premier League in a solitary Championship campaign with West Brom and Champions League success with Chelsea?
A big part of being lucky, of course, is surrounding yourself with the right people and you have to take your hat off to the Italian for persuading Steve Clarke and Kevin Bond to help him out at Villa Park.
Both men bring vast experience. Last season, Clarke was outfoxing opposition managers for fun as Reading boss before things turned ugly when he accepted a request to speak to Fulham.
The job is a huge one. The culture stinks of failure. If Di Matteo can turn things around quickly, nobody will be calling it lucky.
Owen Coyle (Blackburn)
The verdict of the general football public is unanimous. Owen Coyle is a shocking appointment and Blackburn are destined for a long relegation battle under his tutelage. But under such low expectations, surprises can happen, although it’s difficult to know where the case for Coyle to confound the doubters starts.
From the outside looking in, his weaknesses are easier to pinpoint than his strengths. But let's not forget he does have a Championship promotion on his CV, albeit seven years ago, and there's a wealth of anecdotal evidence to suggest that players, during that fleeting period at Turf Moor, really enjoyed playing for him.
When his Burnley side were in their pomp, they were ultra-aggressive and very determined, and they reached the end of the season carrying no mental baggage. But there were few traces of those qualities at Bolton, Wigan and Houston Dynamo.
Paul Trollope (Cardiff)
Cardiff fans were distinctly underwhelmed when Paul Trollope's appointment was confirmed last May but his involvement with Wales at Euro 2016 has changed the perspective.
Now the Bluebirds should benefit from forging closer ties with the national team, a process that starts with a conversion to 3-5-2 and the arrival of Ashley Richards from Fulham to occupy one of the two wing-back positions.
Trollope did an excellent job over five years in charge of Bristol Rovers, a relationship that ended in his dismissal six years ago. It was only after his departure that his importance became apparent. Rovers were relegated the following season and wouldn't regain their sense of direction until they dropping into non-league four years later.
During that time, Trollope has been grafting away behind the scenes at Championship and Premier League level, working alongside Chris Hughton.
Garry Monk (Leeds)
For about six months of 2015, Garry Monk was all the rage. His chapter in 'Living on the Volcano' left the biggest impression on its audience, backed up by a couple of timely fly-on-the-wall features in national newspapers revealing his methods. Some even touted him as a future England manager. But that was when things were going well.
When the tide at Swansea turned against him, his power soon diminished. Players stopped going the extra mile and he was left exposed as just another manager short of solutions in a crisis situation. His no-nonsense personality and attitude towards match preparation strikes a chord with the working man but his comments about other managers hint at narrow-mindedness.
If he earns the unanimous respect of the Elland Road dressing room, he could push them back into contention. But if the power distance dynamics get complicated, he could be gone by Christmas.
Philippe Montanier (Nottingham Forest)
Half a dozen domestic appointments have left the big ambitions of Forest owner Fawaz Al Hasawi unfulfilled, so he's taken a leaf out of Sheffield Wednesday's book by turning to a much-travelled foreign manager who is detached from the history of the club and all the expectation it brings.
Whether Philippe Montanier measures up to Carlos Carvalhal remains to be seen but he's certainly coming up short in terms of media presence, his inability to connect with the fans only breeding doubts about his track record.
The Frenchman inherits a group players good enough to be competitive but a lack of identity threatens to be the biggest obstacle to begin with. The departure of Andy Reid should at least leave the dressing room in no doubt about who’s in charge but the message about systems and style of play needs to be kept simple.
Jaap Stam (Reading)
If Jaap Stam the manager bears any resemblance to Jaap Stam the player, then the uncompromising Dutchman would take to the rugged terrain of the Championship like a duck to water.
But with no prior experience of top-level management, an admission he fell into coaching rather than actively pursuing the idea and designs on implementing a possession-based philosophy, the Royals are certainly taking a risk, although realistic expectations - Stam is openly talking about a mid-table finish - make the conditions reasonably favourable.
It's the leaning towards eye-catching football that raises most eyebrows, in-keeping with his national identity perhaps but not his image. But his warnings about appearance being deceptive offers clue to the possibility that Stam is ultimately a contrarian, somebody who actively seeks to find answers beyond what is presented at face value, which makes this a curious appointment.
Alan Stubbs (Rotherham)
Plenty of comparisons have been drawn between Hibernian and Rotherham since Alan Stubbs decided to walk away from the Scottish FA Cup winners and take the opportunity on offer in South Yorkshire. But the question was always more about the level than the setting.
The timing isn't bad either. After missing out on promotion, Stubbs is only leaving behind more of the same at Easter Road - opposition no bigger than Falkirk. The 44-year-old seems genuinely excited about pitting his wits against the likes of Newcastle, Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds, not to mention the big names in charge of those clubs.
Throw in the desire of another rugged centre back wishing to play expansive football and it's fair to say Stubbs is a bit of an old romantic. He's up against it on resources alone. If he lasts the season, that will be an achievement in itself.
Walter Zenga (Wolves)
A quick look at Walter Zenga's Wikipedia page doesn't inspire confidence in his ability to outperform Kenny Jackett in terms of results but, reading between the lines of his 15 managerial jobs in 18 years, his presence should certainly raise a few pulses at a club that had gone stale.
Zenga's colourful CV is as much a reflection of his appetite for spontaneity (and subsequent clashes of personality) as it is about his actual ability but there are flashes of inspiration in the midst of it all.
Having managed at various levels in USA, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and the Middle East, it's fair to say his knowledge is pretty broad. The Italian probably won't be the man to return Wanderers to the top flight but his hell-raising personality can at least give Jorge Mendes & Co food for thought while they find their bearings and ponder their next move.