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Fool time when the clowns take over the circus

YOU should never take it personally if you are sacked by a football club.

Sometimes it has nothing to do with how good you are at your job or the standards you have set. Sometimes an absolute clown with a bit of money just comes into your boardroom. Nothing illustrates that fact better than the cases of Steve Clarke and Malky Mackay.

West Bromwich Albion finished eighth last term, and they have beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford this season. Their remit is to stay in the Premier League and I am sure under Steve they would have done that.

I was a young lad at Chelsea when he was a senior pro, a quiet guy who I never thought would be a manager, but he has become a victim of his own success. Suddenly he loses four games and he's out.

Malky will be next, I am sure. When you get a situation like this, you start scrolling back through all his achievements - the promotions, the stability he has brought to that club, the Capital One Cup final against Liverpool which was a coin toss at the end.

This season, Cardiff have beaten Manchester City and drawn with Manchester United, so you look at all these things and think he is impossible to get rid of. But then you get an owner who pays his money, comes in and says he wants his own man. But instead of telling the truth, they bend it in order to stitch people up.

Nothing surprises me with Cardiff owner Vincent Tan after he changed the club colours from blue to red, then got rid of the chief scout in order to put his pal in. Owners like him just do it because they think it will get them some profile. They don't know anything about football and always find out the hard way that business and football are completely different.

I worked with a lot of high-profile chairmen in my time and let's just say I wish they were all as solid as Geoff Brown at St Johnstone and Stewart Milne at Aberdeen. People might scoff at Stewart being on that list, but Aberdeen are a club where there is no threat of administration, and they always pay their staff on time. Chairmen like them are few and far between, people who put their money in, put the right people in place, and let them get on with it. People who run the club the right way, and have realistic ambitions for it. They give their players and staff the best opportunity to succeed, but also know they have to get rid of them if it is not working out. They certainly don't move the goalposts like the wee guy at Cardiff has.

THE discussion is also relevant when you look the latest events at Rangers. I touched on it in last week's column when I said the only thing that might get fans on board was finance director Brian Stockbridge leaving, and that is even more true after the club's AGM rejected the attempts of the four nominees led by Paul Murray to acquire seats on the board.

The first job for this board now, after being re-elected, is getting the fans onside. If things are to have a chance to simmer down and just work as a business, then the likes of James and Sandy Easdale will have to get rid of Stockbridge, who is detested by the fans.

While I am sure it didn't sit well with some on the board that Ally McCoist handed his proxy votes to his local supporters' club, I think he will be there as long as his results are right.

He has too much backing among the fans to be sacked, and he knows it. Yes, the board think they are overpaying on wages for what it will take to win the division they are in.

But making cuts isn't easy to achieve in the short term. OK, you can let some fringe players go, but players have long-term contracts, so you might have to work six months down the line once contracts come to an end, while still retaining the spine of a team for the return to the Premiership.

To do that you need to have a decent relationship with your manager, but I don't think there has ever been a board that has properly worked with McCoist. I would love the two parties, and I don't mean the requisitioners, I mean the backroom staff of McCoist, Kenny McDowall and Ian Durrant, and the board to work together to try to get some stability. But I just don't think is happening right now.

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