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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

League Championship club Blackburn sacked Manager Henning Berg "just 57 days after taking charge," according to Simon Rice of the London INDEPENDENT. With the club "investing heavily in players" following last season's relegation from the Premier League, owners are "desperate for a quick return to the top flight." However, that "has looked increasingly unlikely under Berg." Blackburn won just one match during Berg's tenure. Blackburn owners Venky's Group Dir Balaji Rao told The Times of India: "We have not been doing well and dropping points and losing matches quite often. I want to go up" (INDEPENDENT, 12/27). On the ESPN blog The Boot Room, Iain Macintosh wrote "nothing that Blackburn Rovers do is surprising anymore." In more than two years in charge, the Venky's Group has been "blindly slapping buttons and yanking levers in the boardroom, they have transformed a respected football club into a laughingstock." Like Manager Steve Kean before him, the tragedy of Henning Berg is not that he was sacked, but "that he was ever appointed in the first place." Kean "bore the brunt of the fans' anger -- rightly so, given that he took their club down -- but why was a rookie coach installed in place of an experienced and proven manager?" And "what of the man who makes these decisions," Blackburn Global Advisor Shebby Singh? For the reported £400,000 ($644,000) he earns every year, "what is he bringing to the table?" He is a Malaysian footballer turned "controversial TV pundit; what does he know of the battle-scarred quagmire that is the second flight?" (ESPN, 12/27).

NOTTINGHAM SACKS O'DRISCOLL: The PA reported that League Championship club Nottingham Forest has sacked Manager Sean O'Driscoll after a 4-2 home win over Leeds United left them one point adrift of the playoff places. Owners Fawaz and Abdulaziz al-Hasawi said they made the decision because they want a manager with "Premier League experience." The decision to relieve the 55-year-old of his duties comes only five months after he replaced the sacked Steve Cottrell, who the owners "did not want after they completed their buy-out at the end of last season" (PA, 12/26).

SETTING EXPECTATIONS: EUROSPORT's Jan Molby opined the sackings of Berg and O'Driscoll "show the pitfalls of foreign ownership in the Championship." Both managers were axed after a few months "without having a chance to make an impact." It is a "case of unrealistic expectations from foreign owners who expect their teams to breeze to promotion." That "certainly seems to be the case" with Venky's and the al-Hasawi family (EUROSPORT, 12/27).