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The saga continues

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What started out as a report late last night quickly escalated this morning into a huge story covered by all the media outlets out there, and an even led to a request for yours truly to be interviewed on Independent Radio News.

It was a strange morning as there were as many reports about Sven staying as there were about his imminent departure, but most of those gave way to an almost unanimous line with Sven's days being numbered, plenty of 'obituary' pieces being penned and Sven's name being carved alongside those who have previously fallen.

The situation even led to as diverse a pair of backings as from the League Managers Association and Noel Gallagher, who likened it to a 'morbid dream' and as the dust settles on the day, all at the club are trying to preach a 'business as usual' approach ahead of the final two games.

The players have been vociferously backing their manager, with Nedum Onouha the latest to do so and fan protests believed to be being mobilised ahead of the the final two (away) games of the season - conveniently the story has broken following our last home game.

Whilst there was a groundswell of opinion that was against the appointment of Sven, this I believe was (wrongly) based upon his time in charge of England, and I was one of the fans who championed his appointment.

True to this, my view is that his departure from the club would be nothing short of a disaster.

Despite our stutter over the second half of the season - which has led Sven to be a victim of his own success in some respects, he has exceeded those expectations from when he first arrived last summer.

Faced with losing arguably our two best players from last season in Dunne and Distin, he quickly assembled a side on a budget around the amount that Liverpool spent on Fernando Torres alone - with one eye most definitely on the future with the majority of his purchases. Some of the signings have been hit and miss, but overall Sven has got it right and the squad looks in a healthy position as it currently stands.

Whilst the football has been restrictive at times due to the 4-5-1 formation consistently deployed, it has been an upgrade on previous seasons and there have been undoubted highlights in our performances but most crucially for me has been his handling of the Academy.

We all know how blessed we our at present with the quality that has been coming through, but the way that the players have been assimilated into the line-up and the focus and attention they have is testament to his abilities to develop this kind of talent.

It is not surprising therefore that at all levels of the club - apart from those that ultimately count of course, are said to devasted that he looks like leaving, and you do wonder what effect this could have on the futures of those players.

Talk of a three-year plan no appears mute, with Sven having fulfilled the first stage of the requirement and it appeared that this season was a platform on which to build a rosy future and I suspect Sven will be as disappointed as any to leave a squad of players who appear to have so much potential ahead of them.

I did begin to worry that once Thaksin had cleared his return to Thailand, he appeared to look for a more active, 'hands on' role at the club and so it appears to be. Already, there have been Thaksin appointments in key positions and it has been conveyed to me that both Paul Tyrrell and Alastair Mackintosh could be on their way out of the club in the summer.

Is this a case of Thaksin flexing his muscles, and trying to assert his power over the club and sees Sven (and his popularity) as a problem? Possibly, and it certainly fits the traits of a dictator.

Is it too late for Sven? Not quite yet, and the hope is that Thaksin will see the error of dismissing Sven - and a glimmer of hope at this stage is that Thaksin has publicly confirmed nothing stronger than his 'all areas over the club will be reviewed' statement, but Sven's position appears untenable now and I cannot see a situation where Sven would want to carry on when clearly the power that be at the (yes, power not powers) no longer wants him there.

It's not quite as simple as 'I told you so' that the Thaksin-sceptics may well trot out, but the position we are in now, the phrase 'If you dance with the devil' certainly rings true.