So it’s happened: the biggest job in football is up for grabs.
Just a few months ago, lantern-jawed leader Steve Cotterill could do no wrong at Bristol City. His rapidly assembled side destroyed League One and brought the football world to its knees by adding the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
But the summer was wasted chasing increasingly overambitious targets: Cotterill was thwarted in his attempts to capture Andre Gray and Dwight Gayle, and in a £100 billion move to travel back in time forty years and return with the young George Best.
After a poor run in the league, Cotterill – like Mourinho – suffered the bizarre fate of being ‘relieved of his duties’ virtually before his name had been engraved on the Manager of the Year trophy. Who’s next in the hotseat at the biggest club in South Bristol?
Very small eyes haven’t stopped Monk from doing an impressive job at Swansea and simultaneously fighting crime as a neurotic detective in a cult series. Unfortunately he’s vowed to return to football ‘at the highest level’ so the club would need to doctor the league tables to attract him.
PROS: Would be a good fit for the job.
CONS: Probably doesn’t want it.
The current favourite has done well at Oxford, but will struggle to convince fans that he’s a step forward from his predecessor.
PROS: Up-and-coming boss.
CONS: Limited ‘pulling power’ and always looks a bit grumpy in photos. Also, similar name to Michael Atherton could lead to confused team playing wrong sport.
The architect of this astonishingly successful Leicester team, he would be welcomed by many fans, but does come with a reputation for being difficult to handle, not helped by the episode last season when he accused a journalist of being an ostrich: an accusation which DNA tests immediately disproved.
PROS: A big bruiser who’d knock the team into shape.
CONS: That thing with the ostrich.
The 104-year-old campaigner is a pantomime villain at Ashton Gate as everywhere, but might the club be tempted by a specialist in damage limitation? Given the board’s emphasis on youth and long-term planning it looks far too short at .
PROS: Being Neil Warnock.
CONS: Being Neil Warnock.
Also played for the club, and has impressed at Exeter by building a sustainable youth system and wearing pork-pie hats. But, again, might struggle to attract the big hitters the club yearns for.
PROS: A manager with a big future.
CONS: Question marks over whether the hat will work at this level.
shot, because it seems unlikely the club would take a punt on a man whose last job was at strugglers Chelsea.
PROS: Has a point to prove.
CONS: Not proven at Championship level.
Cotterill’s assistant is a popular figure and oversaw a remarkable win over Middlesbrough in his first game as caretaker, but the directors would be accused of lacking ambition. Stranger things have happened though, at …
PROS: Already knows the squad.
CONS: Long surname doesn’t fit neatly into chants.
A former Bristol City player, he would be a popular appointment. Time in charge of Man United and Real Sociedad shows he is capable of taking on a club of this size. But is he prepared for a budget that’s a little smaller than he had at Old Trafford?
PROS: A coup for the club if he came.
CONS: Would try to sign Fellaini.
Given his legendary status at arch-enemies Bristol Rovers, there is more chance of his namesake Ian Huntley being given the job.
PROS: Has done well in the past and is great in press conferences.
CONS: Appointment would lead to fans burning down stadium.