Leverkusen sack Alonso, Chelsea press Mourinho button, Slot quits and other Managergeddon predictions

Dave Tickner
Alonso Liverpool
Xabi Alonso during a press conference.

Xabi Alonso is sacked, Arne Slot quits Liverpool and Jose Mourinho has his third crack at Chelsea. This is Managergeddon and those are our predictions.


We’ve spent the last few months telling anyone who would listen that this summer would go down as the summer of MANAGERGEDDON, an unusually quiet season for managerial AXEINGS having left the MERRY-GO-ROUND barely moving at all. It had to create a bottleneck of nonsense to be unleashed in the summer; there was no other way it could be.

But we cannot claim in good faith to have expected things to have gone anywhere near as batsh*t as they have anywhere near as fast. There seems no reason to expect things to slow down, so here are some predictions for the rest of the summer’s happenings aboard the managerial merry-go-round.

You can scoff at these if you like, but take yourself back a week and imagine being told about Kompany to Bayern Munich for the first time. Exactly. Half of these will have come to pass before this week is out, mark our words.


Xabi Alonso sacked by Bayer Leverkusen as fraudulence belatedly exposed
Imagine being that close to a proper Invincible season (instead of a pretend one like Arsenal that time) only to bottle it so spectacularly in a Europa League final against Atalanta where you get completely ripped to shreds by Ademola Lookman, who has finally shaken the very last of the Everton out of his system to reach his final form.

If Bayer Leverkusen have any inclination to be taken seriously as a big club they must be hard-nosed about this. Thanks for the good times and the memories, Xabi, but it’s time to say goodbye. Can’t hack it in the big games. Even Erik ten Hag wins finals, Xabi, you preposterously handsome yet irredeemably fraudulent clown.

What a lucky escape for Liverpool too.

👉 Five reasons Liverpool should be glad they dodged a bullet with Xabi Alonso…
👉 Klopp was not Liverpool’s first choice either: Mourinho, Wenger offer hope to Arne Slot


A surprise appointment as Alonso’s successor
Managers who put up almost no meaningful fight against relegation from the Premier League are all the rage in the Bundesliga these days. We just hope Chris Wilder likes Germany.


Government announce all 18-year-olds will be required to do their bit and take charge of Manchester United for a fortnight
May be unworkable but polls very well with confused, angry gammon, apparently. But let it never be said the Prime Minister is a soulless shell of a human incapable of compassion or empathy and grasping desperately for a new subset of the population to punish; anyone who doesn’t want the stress or trauma of trying to assemble a functioning defence from those United squad members currently able to walk will be able to simply do 12 months in the military instead.


Wolves sack Gary O’Neil and are told to be careful what they wish for
On this rare occasion, those warnings of care are correctly issued. But the simple fact is that O’Neil has the chance to become the ultimate firefighter, a manager never granted a pre-season across his entire managerial career in favour of becoming a nomadic figure popping up only where he is needed and never for longer than one single season, spending what rare moments of downtime he may enjoy between rescue missions Speaking Well, I Thought on Monday Night Football and railing against VAR.

In this way, Wolves’ apparent folly is simply acting in accordance with the prophecy and is to be respected and applauded.


Any decision Manchester United now make about their manager
God bless that absolute banter of an FA Cup final. An absurd run to the final, in which United won a game of pure uncut nonsense against Liverpool but also managed to win in the most undignified and mortifying manner imaginable against both Newport and Coventry ended with a genuinely impressive performance and deserved result against a Manchester City team who might have just done ever so slightly too much celebrating like they’d won the league after winning the league.

Now United can either stick with a manager clearly unsuited and unsuitable to the club and its lofty vision, or sack a manager who just won silverware for the second successive season having masterminded a takedown of the most dominant side English football has ever seen.

We honestly can’t decide which is funnier. Not really – it’s definitely keeping him. Unless it’s sacking him and replacing him with Kieran McKenna. Maybe.


Eddie Howe leaves Newcastle for the England job, Newcastle panic
England have had a bit of success with a thoughtful, Spoke Well I Thought centrist dad as manager so it stands to reason they might try a right-wing version next. Newcastle are thrown into a state of panicked confusion by this largely foreseeable event and, noting that managers who get promoted to or relegated from the Premier League are all the rage these days, find themselves appointing Rob Edwards almost by accident.


Arne Slot quits Liverpool before a ball is kicked
A clever ruse from all involved, streamlining the ‘impossible job to follow a legend’ trope and allowing Liverpool to skip through the inevitable 18 months of unpleasantness and get straight to the ‘man who follows the man who follows the legend’ because that guy at least has some hope of being more Arteta than Everyone Man United Have Appointed Since Moyes.


Thomas Frank gets a Big Job
Maybe even Liverpool, who knows? But the main things is that his unveiling at a club that matters prompts an entire PFM punditry battalion realise to their collective horror that he is in fact A Foreign, having spent the last five years in the happy collective delusion he was a solid geezer from Watford.


Chelsea’s search for a pliant, malleable young manager to work with what remains of a talented crop of young players lands on Jose Mourinho
Honestly don’t think there’s anything we want more from this summer than late-career destroy-and-exit Mourinho rocking up at Clearlake FC and not so much voicing some home truths about the owners as howling them from the rooftops while shattering the confidence of any player he comes within a 100-yard radius of.

Expect record levels of deployment of the ‘Heartbreaking: The Worst Person You Know Just Made A Great Point’ meme followed by all the fun and the excitement and the ‘Him? Really?’ of another Chelsea manager search around November. Mauricio Pochettino is installed as third favourite.


👉 Ranking Todd Boehly mistakes at Chelsea: Sacking Pochettino storms to top spot of 17
👉 Predicting 10 more Chelsea mistakes this summer: McKenna, Jackson, ‘the next Enzo’ and…
👉 Predicting Chelsea’s next six managers from sacked Kieran McKenna to John Terry via Emma Hayes


Russell Martin joins his fellow promoted managers by securing a second promotion
With Ipswich’s Kieran McKenna wanted by Manchester United and Leicester’s Enzo Maresca prominent on Chelsea’s vaguely unhinged wishlist of managers slightly less good than Pochettino, it stands to reason that Russell Martin is also suitably rewarded for getting Southampton promoted. Especially after going up through the play-offs, which as we all know is The Best Way To Go Up. Certainly, anyone who had forgotten or doubted that truism was relieved of that knowledge gap if they watched even 12 seconds of Sky’s live coverage of the play-off final.

Anyway, Martin. He gets the job at, oh, let’s say, Spurs. Can’t have a list of folly that doesn’t include any Spurs.


Vincent Kompany named Bayern Munich manager
No, that’s too silly.