There remains only one week and change before the 2014-15 edition of the Barclays English Premier League kicks off in earnest, and this oddly enough coincides with the race for managers to keep their jobs.
Keen fans will be aware that, given the hefty demands placed on managers in England, Premier League survival is paramount. Whilst for the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Everton and Tottenham, nothing other than a place among the European elite will suffice.
David Moyes’ ejection from Old Trafford was last season’s highest-profile dismissal, with Tottenham’s Andre Villas Boas followed closely behind. Martin Jol was shown the exit at Fulham, as was Sir Alex Ferguson’s old right-hand man at United, Rene Meulensteen.
Malky Mackay failed to see eye to eye with Cardiff owner Vincent Tan and was replaced with ex-Manchester United hero, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – and even he could not keep Cardiff from falling through the relegation trap door.
Comedian and part time football manager, Ian Holloway walked away from his position in charge at Crystal Palace and was replaced by resurrection extraordinaire Tony Pulis.
Norwich parted ways with Chris Hughton, and Sunderland dismissed Paolo Di Canio, along with any fascist views he or may not have. Michael Laudrup is another who failed to see the season through as Swansea saw fit in replacing him with former defender Garry Monk on a temporary basis. But in the wake of Monk keeping the Swans afloat in the top flight, though, he’s since been rewarded with a three year contract to keep charge of the Welsh club.
Lastly, and this has been in no chronological order whatsoever, Jose Mourinho’s former assistant at Chelsea, Steve Clarke lost his position at the West Brom helm with Pepe Mel being his ultimate successor.
All in, it means that of the twenty top-flight managers, ten either lost their jobs or walked out on their post. It also means that England has the highest managerial attrition rate of any football league globally.
Indeed, who would want to be a football manager in England?
This coming season, with the unrelenting pressure on managers to win and keep winning, things are unlikely to change – and this is my list of probable managerial casualties in the coming campaign.
Heading my list is Aston Villa’s Paul Lambert; a man who’s tested the patience of Villa fans globally over the course of the entire season last time out.
The Scot has been at the Aston Villa helm for 85 matches since starting in 2012 and in that time has seen his team to victory on only 27 occasions, accompanied by 19 draws and 39 losses – that equates to a dismal win percentage of less than 32%.
The recent addition of former Man United stalwart, Roy Keane, as Lambert’s assistant could add a degree of stability to the team, and Keane is indeed known for running a tight ship. However my guess is that, similar to Meulensteen’s appointment as Jol’s assistant at Fulham, Keane may have been brought in as Lambert’s successor should the latter fail to produce results.
I’ve always held Sam Allardyce in very high regard. He worked miracles to lift an unfashionable Bolton Wanderers side to compete regularly for a place in European competition.
His career took a turn for the worse when he left Bolton to assume the reins at Newcastle and was sacked as Geordie manager within eight months following a string of poor results. My personal feelings on the matter are; and it could be my sentiment for him speaking through; that he was not given sufficient time to mould the team to his style of play.
In any event, Allardyce was adamant throughout last season that his position in charge of West Ham was under threat, and that in spite of what the board was telling the media.
Once again, he managed to rescue his team from the jaws of relegation, and while I hope he remains at West Ham United for years to come to grow the club, perhaps his premonition last season would prove telling in this one.
George Graham, David Pleat, Glenn Hoddle, Jacques Santini, Martin Jol, Clive Allen, Juande Ramos, Harry Redknapp, Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood have all had the axe fall on their careers as manager of Tottenham Hotspur – twelve managers in 13 years.
I’ve always had plenty to say about the way Chelsea’s Roman Abrabamovic scythes through managers like a hot knife through butter, but it seems Spurs’ Daniel Levy is at least equally ruthless. I would argue that Juande Ramos and Harry Redknapp performed admirably enough in their respective tenures with the club and thus were dismissed for reasons other than their win-loss ratio.
Levy then, as club chairman, is not one to be questioned while simultaneously demands results. So for no other reason than the chairman’s impatience and meddling, I’m afraid Mauricio Pochettino makes my list.
There are fair few more that make the list and they will follow in due coarse.