It used to be said that managing the England national team was the ‘impossible job’ as there was no way you could ever succeed unless you were perennial winners of the World Cup. That term should now be reserved for the Barclays Premier League, though, as the guillotine fell on yet another manager, Cardiff City’s, Malky Mackay, who became the 6th victim of the season.
To date, Tottenham have canned Andre Villas-Boas, West Brom binned Steve Clarke, Palace turfed out Ian Holloway, Fulham snipped Martin Jol, and Sunderland frog-marched Paolo di Canio to the job center.
And trust me it won’t end there. Sam Allardyce, Chris Hougton, and Paul Lambert at West Ham, Norwich City, and Aston Villa, respectively, are all clinging to the precipice and could be gone before the New Year.
If that does come to pass, 45% of the league’s managers will have been fired before we’ve even played 20 matches, which in my book is pure madness.
Admittedly, you can’t fire the four to five players who are underperforming but this complete disregard for the man with the brains behind clubs is madness.
Let’s take a look at the victims this season and examine their records to see if their sackings were justified or not.
Malky Mackay & Cardiff City: G125, W54, D37, L34
Mackay got Cardiff to the Premiership for the first time in their history. Has the team in 17th place but also masterminded Manchester City and most importantly Swansea. There is no way this man should’ve been sacked and to be honest, the club’s owner, Vincent Tan is a disgrace. Didn’t deserve the sack!
Andre Villas-Boas & Tottenham: G80, W44, D20, L16
Villas-Boas has claimed that he was unlucky to get the bullet but looking at the money he’s spent, the backing he’s received, and the lack of humility he’s shown, I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did. AVB’s problem is that he doesn’t have the experience to manage clubs the size of a Tottenham or Chelsea. He needs to go back to continental Europe and properly learn his craft. Had the sack coming!
Steve Clarke & West Brom: G60, W19, D15, L26
I’m gutted for Clarke who I rate as someone with a football brain. He learnt his trade under Jose Mourinho and with a little bit of luck would’ve had some huge victories this season including a win at Stamford Bridge to go along with turning over Manchester United at Old Trafford. The Baggies board has acted rashly and the next five matches will truly decide whether they stay up or go down. Didn’t deserve the sack!
Ian Holloway & Crystal Palace: G47, W15, D14, L18
Ian Holloway was a legit sacking in the AVB mold. Although he produced miracles to get the Eagles to the promised land of the elite, his record in the Premiership is not one to hang your hat on. Had the sack coming!
Martin Jol & Fulham: G113, W38, D28, L47
A pure panic sacking by the Cottagers who are notoriously slow starters. Chairman Shahid Khan’s knowledge of football could fit onto a pinhead and without a steady hand beside him he’s looked at the table and made a decision based purely on that. Fulham under Jol have always been a solid unit. With a weak schedule coming up, Khan has been far too quick to pull the trigger. Didn’t deserve the sack!
Paolo di Canio & Sunderland: G13, W3, D3, L7
13 matches, 13 matches!!! How can that be enough time to let any manager develop a style, philosophy, let lone a cohesive united. Ellis Short, the Black Cats chairman, should really have a good look at himself and ask the question “why did I hire him in the first place” as the appointment of di Canio was controversial to say the least. I actually like the Italian and given some backing think his ideas of discipline and club commitment are traits that would’ve paid dividends further down the line. Didn’t deserve the sack!
As my old mentor once so profoundly said: “Nick, the day you get hired, you’re a day closer to the sack” and no truer word has ever been spoken about managing in the Premier League, truly the “impossible job.”
Nick Webster has covered the Premier League for over the past decade. He now has his own blog at www.realfootytalk.com that looks at the game with a sharper, less censored eye. Follow him daily for his View from the Terraces plus unique video hits that have a voice only true fans of the game understand.