In the Championship ? Fun at the Play Offs

Last updated : 15 May 2006 By Tony Scholes
Dave Nugent - laughed in Crainey's face when the Leeds player was sent off
Preston first, and it looks as though the Leeds players were intent on revenge against their demented dwarf Billy Davies. If you recall, we reported last week that Davies was so delighted with his club's draw in the first leg at Elland Road that he was jumping up and down punching the air, leaping so high that he even reached 5ft 6ins. You somehow sensed he would pay for it.

He'd given Leeds all the incentive they needed and winning the second leg, and deservedly so, wasn't enough for them and they have, we are led to believe, left some messages for the Preston boss. We have to say that the reported damage to the dressing room is not on, I assume Ken Bates will have to foot the bill.

There was some unsavoury behaviour on the pitch too, and I start with the disgraceful actions of Preston striker Dave Nugent. He went crazy, demanding that referee Thorpe send off Leeds defender Stephen Crainey. Worse still, after the red card was shown, Nugent went up close and laughed in his face, that was scandalous from the Preston player.

And, apart from all the yellow and red cards, surprisingly mainly aimed at Leeds, we even had a good old fashioned brawl which was kicked off by Richard Cresswell and Carlo Nash, who thankfully we can report suffered no damage to his hair.

If that was lively, it was nothing compared to Vicarage Road when it all kicked off the following night in the other semi-final. Players, coaching staff, referee, assistants, fourth official and even fans got involved in an amazing spectacle.

Someone had to be to blame and he was, win at all costs Aidy Boothroyd. He triggered it all with some gamesmanship, pushing the ball away to prevent Palace taking a quick throw. He was banished to the stands but incredibly the FA have decided to take no further action against him.

Away from the play offs, and a number of managers have been in the news in the last week, mainly regarding their current, or in the case of Joe Royle, previous jobs. It was something of a surprise to hear that Ipswich had decided to dispense with the services of Long Ball Joe and already new Championship boss Phil Parkinson is being touted as the favourite.

Phil Parkinson - on Ipswich's wanted list to replace Joe Royle
Whether he will want to walk out on Colchester after two successive promotions remains to be seen but a former Claret, Royle's trusted number two Willie Donachie, has thrown his hat in. This suggests to me that Royle has decided on retirement, otherwise Donachie would have been waiting for him to get another job to move with him.

So that might mean Derby looking elsewhere. They revealed last week that Terry Westley would definitely not be getting the manager's job at Pride Park on a permanent basis and Royle was immediately installed as a favourite.

They've also been linked with Mike Newell, who not too long ago was interviewed by Leicester, but this time Luton have decided not to play ball, leaving Derby to look elsewhere.

Kevin Ball took charge of Sunderland, the dream job for Bally, for the last ten games of the season, but he's now reverted to his job with the academy. He could return though and has made it known that it is an ambition of his to manage the Mackems on a permanent basis.

The word on the street in the north east is that he won't get the job, and if Niall Quinn's consortium does take over then his chances are believed to be slim. There's even a possibility that Peter Reid could return to work alongside Quinn.

Tony Pulis left Stoke last summer and early during the season he replaced Bobby Williamson at Plymouth. But the crisis Icelandic club could be no more with news that an English based consortium are wrestling to take control. The consortium is led by former chairman Peter Coates who would be keen to take Pulis back to the Windy City.

Meanwhile Johan Boskamp is still there, in name if not in body, and still not speaking to the Director of Football John Rudge. There was an old BBC soap based on a football club that was filmed at Stoke many years ago, they have now turned the whole thing into a real life soap.

Two other clubs in our league could find themselves without managers in the near future with Premiership clubs keen to take them up a level. Iain Dowie is apparently challenging Terry Venables for the job at Middlesbrough, and having missed out on promotion at Palace he would probably move given the chance. Just imagine being able to work for Steve Gibson, who just gives you money to spend, rather than having to contend with Simon Jordan.

Kenny Cunningham - had harsh parting words for Birmingham manager Steve Bruce
And incredibly Charlton seem to want to speak to the legend in his own mind Peter Taylor about the vacancy at the Valley. Charlton have now had an unbroken six years in the Premiership, are they so intent on being relegated?

There's been fun at Birmingham involving captain Kenny Cunningham. He was released with some glowing comments from the management but retaliated by telling the world that Steve Bruce was the reason Birmingham had been relegated. That's led to the club hitting out at the player in a strong attack.

The Birmingham fans must be well impressed with all this, after a torrid season, although for now the rest of the released players have kept quiet. Meanwhile Bruce is preparing for life back in the Football League and is ready to make an offer for Cardiff's in demand Cameron Jerome.

Down at QPR, Gary Waddock has decided to get rid of no fewer than fifteen players, but is still waiting to see if he is going to be the manager next season. He doesn't have to stay at Loftus Road, I'm sure no one is holding a gun to his head.

West Brom are certainly keen to take one of his remaining players, they have already enquired about Danny Shittu who could be set to move to the Hawthorns. Meanwhile Bryan Robson is working hard to persuade Nathan Ellington to remain with the club. Ellington you will recall decided to ensure his long term Premiership career a year ago and moved from Wigan to West Brom. Wise move that one.

And talking of Wise moves, the obnoxious Dennis has been released by Coventry. Could this be the end of the road for him? We can only sit and hope. Micky Adams is trying to replace him with Colin Cameron who was somewhat surprisingly offered a new deal at Wolves after they had initially tried to palm him off on Millwall. Cameron has remembered that and has suggested he will not remain at Molineux.

There's some good news for Burnley to end with – if we feared coming up against Shaun Goater again next season following Southend's promotion, we need have no fears. They won't be feeding the Goat at Roots Hall next season, the Bermudan striker has decided to hang up his boots.