The Football Management Merry-Go-Round!

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 | by Flaviu | No Comments

Last Updated on: 11th September 2023, 01:13 pm

The new Premier League season is only in its second week but before it had even started, we had the first managerial casualty of the season. Tony Pulis left Crystal Palace by mutual consent 48 hours before the new season started. Since taking over in November with the club bottom of the table, Pulis turned the clubs fortunes around and managed an impressive 11th place finish. However, after disagreements over the summer with chairman Steve Parish over potential new players, and wanting more control over who the club signed, the two parties agreed to terminate his contract leaving the club with no manager going into the new campaign.

With the talk at the start of every season about who will be the first manager to go, it got us thinking here at Pendle, about the amount of managers that clubs go through these days and what does it take to succeed as a Premier League manager in the current era?

During the course of last season no fewer than ten managers lost their job during the season with another two leaving at the end of the season. They say that being a manager these days is all about getting results, and it’s true it is a results business, but is sacking a manager every season because it hasn’t quite gone your way the right thing to do?

For some clubs it works, like discussed before Crystal Palace made the right move in sacking Ian Holloway and Employing Tony Pulis, but it doesn’t always work like that, both Fulham and Cardiff suffered from sacking their managers last season. Fulham went through three managers last season sacking Martin Jol with the club in 18th place in December, he was replaced by Rene Meulensteen, which proved to be a bad move as the club were rooted to the bottom of the table when he was replaced in February, Felix Magath came in for the end of the season and with only 3 wins from 16 games it’s no surprise that the club went down, but would they have stayed up if they had have kept Jol in charge to the end of the season?

Norwich suffered a similar fate last season, sacking their manager during the season and getting relegated, but unlike Fulham and Cardiff, Norwich sacked their manager in April with only a month of the season to go, was that the right move to make? Should they have stuck with the manager at least until the end of the season, or should they have sacked him earlier on to give a new manager more of a chance to keep the club in the top flight?

At the other end of the table, manager stability is vital to mounting a challenge for the top four or the championship. Most of the clubs in last season’s top 7 seem to change their manager almost as much as they change kits, since the Premiership started in 1992 there has been 15 different managers at Man City, 8 at Liverpool, 9 at Everton, and 17 at Tottenham and Chelsea. But only a few of those managers have had success, 3 titles for Chelsea with two different manager and 2 titles for Man City again with 2 different managers shows that sacking a manager after one poor season doesn’t work.

But how do you judge success? In a division of twenty teams there are still only four places for the Champions League, so is fifth place and below a failure? Surely there must be teams for whom mid-table is success enough, or narrowly avoiding relegation is their prime objective, but then Stoke sacked Pulis after finishing 13th in 2012-13, and big Sam is under a lot of pressure at West Ham after what many would consider was a good season.

Does the problem lie with the clubs’ boards expecting too much from their team in a division that was so competitive last season that there was only 14 point separating 9 places, or is it the fans who have unreasonable expectations, or both? What do you think?

Let us know what you think? Is stability better than change? Let us know if you have any stories of managers being in charge at your club for long periods of time.

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