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Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Tale of Two Clubs

With Stockport's appointment of Paul Simpson as their new manager, Nobes looks at the 43-year-old's divisive career - and other managers who split opinion among fans.

Stockport are the fifth club of Paul Simpson's managerial career

Around 90 miles separates Preston from Carlisle. That, and the opinion of football fans in the two cities regarding Paul Simpson.

Back-to-back promotions with the Cumbrians, staring League One oblivion in the face in Lancashire. Simpson's standing at the two clubs couldn't be further apart.

He was revered at Brunton Park for helping them out of the Conference at the first time of asking before sweeping to League Two title glory 12 months later. He had resurrected the fortunes of Carlisle.

A move to Preston North End followed and, despite a fine start to his Deepdale reign, the wheels began to come off. A poor start to his second season saw him sacked with PNE struggling towards the bottom.

All in all, Stockport fans will have a hard time deciding whether or not they've the right man at the helm to take them forward in League Two next term.

Simpson is not the only manager who polarises two club's opinions so greatly though. Here's the rundown on some of football's other Jekyll and Hyde bosses:

Ian Holloway - Leicester City and Blackpool

You almost can't believe the difference between Holloway's reigns at Leicester and Blackpool.

He took over at the Foxes in 2007 with the intention of taking them into the top flight. However, he soon found himself embroiled in a relegation fight in the Championship.

They lost it - and Holloway his job. Humorous in post match interviews, but his dour football and managerial ability were called into question.

He took a year out of the game, came back a new man and, working on a shoestring budget, took relegation favourites Blackpool into the Premier League playing an attractive brand of passing, attacking football.

Merely a joker in the pack at Leicester, but Blackpool's ace.

Martin Allen - Brentford and Cheltenham Town

Brentford turned to Allen to help stave off the drop into League Two in 2004.

An inspirational late run at the end of the season saw him achieve his goal.

Then the fun really began.

He took the Bees to successive play off finishes, where they were unfortunate losers in the semis to Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea on both occasions.

Successful cup runs also earned the club much needed cash. Spells at MK Dons and Leicester followed before he turned up at Cheltenham.

Allen was unable to save the Robins from demotion to League Two though and his long ball style - now not achieving results - was loathed.

Fans split, he was sacked after a poor start to the following campaign and off-field issues.

Gary Megson - West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest

A saviour who turned the club into what they are today? Or the man who took a twice European Champion to their lowest ebb?

Different clubs, but the same manager.

Gary Megson is revered at West Brom for, first, saving them from relegation and then rebuilding the club to take them into the Premier League - a feat he accomplished twice.

With the top flight money the club received, they have now established themselves as football's greatest yo-yo club.

However, his spell at Forest was disastrous. He was unable to stop the rot at the City Ground as they fell into the third tier. Their form in League One was also embarrassing as they slumped into the bottom half.

He was soon given his marching orders - much to Forest fans' relief.

Paul Jewell - Bradford City and Sheffield Wednesday

If truth be told, the names of Wigan and Derby could also have been used when trying to illustrate the opposing views on Jewell's managerial ability.

However, his form at his first two clubs couldn't be further apart.

At Bradford, he took the Bantams into the top flight for the first time in 77 years.

It was his first full season as a manager and then, miraculously, he kept City in the top flight before departing for Hillsborough.

Wednesday had just been relegated to the Championship, and hopes were high of them bouncing back instantly.

However, crippling debts always made that a challenge and Jewell was dismissed after just eight months and left the club battling to avoid a second successive relegation.

Peter Taylor - Gillingham and Leicester City

Taylor helped both the Gills and Leicester into the Championship - an 'achievement' appreciated exclusively by Gills supporters.

The Kent outfit had never appeared in the second tier until Taylor took over from Tony Pulis in 1999. Playing good football, he took them up at the first time of asking as play off winners.

He then left to take charge at top flight City. Rated as one of the top young managers in the game, he started off well with the Foxes, before things began to go pear shaped.

He was sacked at the start of his second season with Leicester struggling. Even with Taylor gone, they lost the Premier League status they'd held for six years.

Ronnie Moore - Rotherham United and Oldham Athletic

It's difficult to know just why things didn't take off for Moore at Oldham.

He had a successful track record with Rotherham, and then saved Latics from relegation when taking over.

However, despite competing for the play offs and finishing in the top half the following year, Oldham fans never warmed to him or his direct football, and poor season ticket sales saw him sacked in the close season.

Contrast that with his time at Rotherham, where he was so loved he was invited back to manage them for a second time. He took the Millers to successive promotions and into the Championship in 2001.

There, he managed to keep them punching above their weight. He departed in 2005 before returning to the Millers last year.

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