He's back! After a few months' sabbatical following his controversial sacking by Ethiopia, our regular columnist Iffy Onuora returns for your reading pleasureÃ¢ÂÂ¦
Well, a belated good luck for the 2011/12 season for you, dear reader, and whichever team you've been unfortunate to hitch your wagon to. Unless of course you're an authentic (ahem!) Mancunian, in which case let the good times rollÃ¢ÂÂ¦
Since we last greeted each other, I've been busy trying to break the record for most games covered per week across all four divisions. So every other week it'll be a Premier League game as a Match Delegate (that's referee assessor to you and me), reducing the finest of the nations referees to the scrutiny of my all-seeing eye.
In between I'm scouting for Birmingham City and my old friend Chris Hughton. And to round off my trawl through the nation's football heartland, I'll take in a League One or Two game for interest. Yep, I know, get a lifeÃ¢ÂÂ¦
However, after last season's African sabbatical, it's nice to reacquaint oneself with players, teams and managers. All of which brings me neatly to the recurring theme of the humble football manager.
Now, I hope I'm not a modern-day Jonah, but I was hoping that my first feature of the season would celebrate the fact that no manager had yet been given extended time to care for their gardens (although surely some of my fellow coaching fraternity live in flats?) Ã¢ÂÂ but no such luck.
My old mate Peter Jackson was first to leave office at Bradford City. Without using this as a soapbox for a polemic against boardroom upheaval, it's clear that Bradford's recent Premiership past has almost disappeared into the ether of the club's history, a minor and miraculous interlude from the more humble experience of the smaller clubs, to whose ranks they've now returned.
Jacko fears the worst
It seems like a bad dream, and would be laughable if it wasn't true, but let's not forget they were once paying a player (Benito Carbone, remember him?) a reputed ÃÂ£40,000 per week! Just take a moment to read that back, take a deep sigh and wonder whether the "business model" of the day was, y'know, fully thought through.
They weren't alone, of course: near-neighbours Leeds' story is almost a Greek tragedy of madness masquerading as sound business sense. This was a period where extravagance extended to the purchase of goldfish and expensive jet travel, although thankfully the jet wasn't for the goldfish.
Alright, I hear you: "What's your point, man?" Well the next manager to walk (or get pushed off) the plank was Plymouth's Peter Reid. That same Peter Reid who, while trying to motivate players who hadn't been paid fully for nine months, also paid for a heating bill with his own money. And Plymouth's chairman? Well, that would be the former chairman of Leeds United.
Now please note that I've no particular axe to grind with Peter Ridsdale; actually, I admired the fact that he was prepared to take the blame almost single-handedly for the problems Leeds got into, when surely all concerned should take responsibility. But stillÃ¢ÂÂ¦
Am I alone in feeling that Peter Reid deserved a little better? And if managers live or die by results, on what criteria are football chairmen judged? Or in the end is it just me raging and hoping naively for a shaft of light into a too often dark football world?
Ah well, c'est la vie, 'twas ever thus. Next week's discussion is of a lighter fare: Tw*tÃ¢ÂÂ¦ sorry, Twitter Ã¢ÂÂ Pitch-Perfect Tool for the Modern Game? Discuss...
See you at the far post!Iffy