As the week draws to close, football fans in England have witnessed two of the Premier League's most promising managers abandon ship and move on to what can only be perceived as greener pastures.
Despite leading their respective clubs from the Championship to mid-table glory in the EPL this season, Brendan Rodgers and Paul Lambert have both decided to leave their positions at Swansea and Norwich City to take up posts at Liverpool, a club which dramatically underperformed in 2011-12, and Aston Villa, who finished below both the Swans and Canaries in the league.
While Rodgers' decision is understandable, considering the history that surrounds Liverpool regardless of their performances over the past three seasons, Lambert's will be absolutely nonsensical if terms are finalized and he is introduced as Villa's new manager in the coming days.
Over the course of the past year, both of these men transformed their clubs with entertaining, attacking football that took England by storm. And, in spite of being named favorites for the drop at the start of the season, both clubs survived comfortably and culminated their season's with victories against the same clubs that have sought them in the off-season.
In Wales, Rodgers took a group of underachievers and lower-league talent and fashioned them into arguably the most relentless passing team in Britain.
He brought to light the unbelievable passing precision of Leon Britton, who was in January named the most accurate passer in the world—above even Xavi Hernandez—and helped to revitalize the careers of Scott Sinclair and Wayne Routledge, among others.
Further east, Lambert brought together a similar group of players and showed that even ageing nobodies with little Premier League experience could hang with the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham.
Some of the most prominent of his diamonds in the rough were Wes Hoolahan, Steve Morison and Grant Holt, who had collectively never played a game in the top flight before this season. So illuminating were some of their performances that by season's end numerous football supporters in England were clamoring for Holt's inclusion in the Euro 2012 squad.
Most have been so inspired by Swansea and Norwich this past year that the news of both men leaving for other clubs, who performed quite poorly in 2011-12 for their respective standards, has come as utterly shocking. Especially, the manner by which both have decided to jump ship with very promising squads and seasons ahead for their previous employers.
Rodgers' appointment at Liverpool came following praise around his refusal for an interview only a week ago. But, it seems the money and glory at his disposal with such a worldwide brand and wealthy owners has proven too much to resist for the Northern Irishman.
However, Lambert will be leaving for a club that has stuttered following the resignation of Martin O'Neill two seasons ago, and despite once having huge ambitions for European glory, has become a feeder club that has sold-off Gareth Barry, James Milner, Stewart Downing and Ashley Young for huge fees and never truly managed to find replacements.
Nevertheless, the money is there and perhaps some tinkering by the Scotsman could bring Villa back within reach of Everton—the team they once competed with to break into the Big Four in years past.
For both men, only time will tell whether their decisions this summer will prove correct.
Still, for lovers of the beautiful game and supporters of Cinderella stories all over the world, disappointment has surely stung sharp and quick.
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