‘Be careful what you wish for’: A brief history

Date published: Monday 20th November 2017 12:06

“I think if you are West Brom, be careful what you wish for, that’s what I would say,” said former Chelsea striker Tommy Langley last week. The 59-year-old, with absolutely no connections to The Hawthorns, must be dismayed at being completely ignored by those in charge at the Baggies. Tony Pulis received his marching orders on Monday.

Langley is not alone. Pundits and neutral supporters across the country are tripping over themselves to warn a fanbase and club who have witnessed three victories in their last 24 matches to “be careful what you wish for”. This despite Pulis, a supposed Premier League firefighter, standing idly by while holding hundreds of lit matches.

The Welshman has lost the fans, the dressing room and now the support of the board, and yet some believe this to be a mistake. Let’s take a look at others who chose not to heed the warning of Dave, 57, Swansea, shall we?


Who warned who?
Jose Mourinho warned Chelsea.

What was the warning?
According to the Daily Mail headline from October 2015: ‘Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho warns hierarchy to be careful what they wish for’

What happened?
They ignored him, sacking him two months later. They won the Premier League title under his permanent replacement.


Who warned who?
Liverpool’s then-chief executive Ian Ayre warned the fans.

What was the warning?
He warned the club’s supporters to “be careful what they wish for” ahead of a proposed protest over rising Anfield ticket prices.

What happened?
Daniel Storey told him to ‘f**k off’
, which Ayre preceded to do 12 months later.


Who warned who?
The Football365 Mailbox warned Everton fans.

What was the warning?
Per the headline from April 2016: ‘Mails: Careful what you wish for, Everton’

It was, of course, about then-manager Roberto Martinez.

What happened?
Martinez was sacked by May, and Everton finished 11th for the second consecutive season. They then appointed and sacked Ronald Koeman, and are now managed by David Unsworth. So yeah.


Who warned who?
Paul Merson warned West Brom fans.

What was the warning?
“Let’s be honest, you’ve got to be careful what you wish if you’re a West Brom fan,” Merson said in April 2016. “Look at the three bottom teams in the league, they’re all double bigger than West Brom.”

What happened?
Paul Merson was right. Double right, if anything. The Baggies stayed up by six points, finishing 14th. But they are now 17th, one point above the relegation zone. Almost, Merse.


Who warned who?
Daily Mirror journalist Steve Stammers warned Stoke fans.

What was the warning?
‘If the rumours concerning the future of Tony Pulis have foundation, then the supporters of Stoke City have really entered “be careful what you wish for” territory,’ he wrote in March 2013.

What happened?
Pulis was sacked two months later, and Stoke appointed Mark Hughes. They have since made a successful transition from mid-table Premier League club to mid-table Premier League club.


Who warned who?
Nigel Pearson warned Leicester City’s owners.

What was the warning?
Said the then-manager to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and pals in February 2015: “I’m in a results business and our results haven’t been what we would like. That brings pressure on people’s situations.

“But then you’ve got to find a replacement who’s better and who will wave a magic wand. You’ve got to be careful what you wish for sometimes.”

What happened?
Pearson kept Leicester up from a seemingly impossible position. Forget the fact that the Foxes got rid of him in the summer, appointed Claudio Ranieri and won the most improbable Premier League title ever, and he did have a point.

Oh, and also:


Who warned who?
Chris Sutton warned Leicester’s players.

What was the warning?
“A new manager coming in may want to change these players in the summer so the players should be careful what they wish for, if they did out Ranieri, as some reports suggest they did,” Sutton said in February of this year.

What happened?
Craig Shakespeare was the “new manager”, as it turned out. And those players were not changed at all in the summer, which will likely remain the case under Claude Puel. Stop warning anyone involved with Leicester to be careful what they wish for, folks.


Who warned who?
Everyone warned West Ham fans.

What was the warning?
Don’t sack Sam Allardyce, basically.

Richard Keys wrote: ‘I do actually fear for West Ham’ in a blog titled: ‘Be Careful What You Wish For…’

Stan Collymore wrote: ‘West Ham should be careful what they wish for with Sam Allardyce – better the devil you know’

Alan Shearer said: “All the teams he’s left have plummeted afterwards. Look what happened to Blackburn, Bolton and Newcastle when Big Sam left. Be careful what you wish for, West Ham fans.

Graeme Souness said: “Is it the right thing for West Ham? Are West Ham going to jump from where they are now to being a club that can challenge for the Champions League places? That’s not going to happen overnight. Sam knows his way around the Premier League. Tried and trusted. It’s one of those. Be careful what you wish for.”

What happened?
Slaven Bilic laughed in everyone’s face as he guided them into 7th, five places higher than Allardyce’s last league finish before leaving.

Then the problems began, Bilic has been sacked, and now David Moyes is the most popular man in London’s East End. So yeah.


Who warned who?
Steve Bruce warned Hull fans who were protesting against owner Assem Allam and his family.

What was the warning?
Said the then-manager in April 2016: “He has put £70 million of his own money into the club. He’s obviously upset and disappointed but just be careful what you wish for.”

What happened?
Hull fans absolutely love the Allams now and all is completely forgiven.


 

It turns out that fans don’t always have to “be careful what they wish for”. Some follow that warning by winning a historic Premier League title; others get told to f*** off by Daniel Storey.

 

Matt Stead


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