Sack race: The managerial merry-go-round goes into overdrive
This season has been a busy one for some chairmen if the number of sackings and new appointments made is anything to go by.
With a few games still to go, some 34 managers in the Football League have been sacked, with some of their replacements not even lasting the rest of the season either.
Some new appointments prove to be a stroke of genius, but others turn out to be unmitigated disasters. Let’s take a look at how they stack up this season.
The Premier League has seen five managers succumb to the sack: Roberto di Matteo at Chelsea, Nigel Adkins at Southampton, Martin O’Neill at Sunderland, Mark Hughes at QPR and Brian McDermott at Reading.
With every game that goes by in the Premier League, it seems that the decision by Chelsea to appoint Rafael Benitez as interim manager was a costly one, as their form in the Europa League and FA Cup could come at the expense of a lucrative Champions League place.
Despite spending over £25m in the January transfer window and improving results slightly, Harry Redknapp has got QPR no closer to avoiding the drop to the Championship. Although they currently sit 11th in the league, Southampton under Mauricio Pochettino aren’t mathematically safe yet.
There have been an astonishing 17 changes in the second tier alone, with some clubs changing boss more than once. Perennially unsettled Blackburn Rovers are the main culprits, having had Steve Kean, Henning Berg, Michael Appleton and caretaker Gary Bowyer in the Ewood Park hot seat.
Nottingham Forest, whose Kuwaiti owners are slightly less eccentric than Venky’s, had sacked Steve Cotterill early on before ditching Sean O’Driscoll in December, despite some promising displays. A short and unsuccessful stint for Alex McLeish saw Billy Davies return and move them into the top six.
Blackpool were also busy in the managerial market, having seen Ian Holloway replace Dougie Freedman at Crystal Palace after he moved to Bolton Wanderers. Ollie’s replacement, Michael Appleton, then went to Blackburn only to get sacked after 67 days.
Others signed to help beat the drop in the Football League, like Mick McCarthy at Ipswich and David Flitcroft at Barnsley, are faring slightly better though.
Of all the managerial changes made this season, how many have been successful? Arguably the best change is that made by Bournemouth, who managed to get old boss Eddie Howe to move from Championship side Burnley. Since returning, they’ve been assured of a top-six finish in League One.
Billy Davies’ comeback at Forest has also worked well, while other less-heralded changes including John Ward’s move to Bristol Rovers in League Two, where he has steered them away from relegation trouble have come off. On the other hand, there have been many failures.
Lower down the league ladder, John Hughes’ arrival at Hartlepool United hasn’t stopped them from succumbing to relegation in League One.
Who do you think will be next to face the sack in the Football League?