Whether he likes it nor not, there’s a cloud of history over Mick McCarthy on Wednesday night, where Bringing It All Back Home could be the soundtrack for his start to life as Cardiff City manager.
is first game in charge is against his home-town club, Barnsley.
One of the main tasks for the 61-year-old is to prove that he’s not yesterday’s man, a figure from football’s past who does not belong in the present.
Time is not his friend, either. While he was given a two-year contract (which ended after two months) at his last job, in Cyprus, there has been no such commitment at Cardiff, where McCarthy has been given until the end of the season and no longer.
No three-year plan, no project. He has a simple job, in theory: improve a losing side and edge them away from a relegation zone which they currently sit nine points above. His employers will also want him to win back some pride that has been dented by months of misery.
Even if he can get them motoring, reaching the play-off positions – 13 points away – looks to be wildly out of reach.
The harsh reality is that McCarthy can only win hearts and minds by winning games.
When he was named as their new manager last week, the appointment was greeted by Cardiff supporters, by and large, with a shrug of indifference. A hint of anger but no real joy.
The local paper in Cardiff, a powerful voice on the club’s affairs, spoke of a “backlash from fans” and noted that “the angst from many Cardiff fans is totally understandable... He may not be the hungry young manager Bluebirds fans are coveting”.
On local radio, former Cardiff player Ian Walsh said the appointment was “terrible – it’s all short-termism”. However, he was more critical of the club for the six-month brief given to McCarthy, rather than hammering McCarthy as a manager.
Either way, it’s another taste of the bitterness that McCarthy inherits in Wales.
Of course his last two jobs, with Ireland and APOEL, didn’t go to plan. In both instances, he was ushered to the exit door before his due departure date.
However, if he pulls off something between now and the end of the season, he could earn himself a longer stay in Wales.
Cardiff City FC is an unhappy place right now, with the team on a run of seven defeats in eight games, one of which was a painful loss to bitter rivals Swansea City.
Fans have watched a sterile team who are over-reliant on set-pieces for goals and painfully brittle at home fall down the table, becoming an irrelevance in the promotion race with relegation now a nagging worry.
The hope is that McCarthy still possesses the skills which saw him turn Sunderland and Wolves into promotion-winning sides, and which also made Ipswich promotion candidates while working off a meagre budget.
The fear is that McCarthy’s best days ended when he left Ipswich. His Ireland side was only a slight improvement on the team he inherited from Martin O’Neill, while an APOEL side which lost four games in a row at the end of his reign have, since he departed, gone five unbeaten.
Short on time, McCarthy has to show – and right away – that he’s not yesterday’s man.