EPL: Why Have No Premier League Managers Been Sacked?


EPL: Why have no Premier League managers been sacked?

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Patience is not a word you would immediately associate with Premier League clubs, especially when it comes to hiring and firing managers. When a team is going through a bad run of form, the finger of blame more often than not points at the man in charge of picking the team. However, we have almost made it to Christmas in the 2014-15 Premier League season and not a single manager has faced the chop, bucking the trend of recent years.

The table below displays the managerial changes in the Premier League over the course of the 2013-14 season. The 10 changes were a record in the Premier League era and highlighted the non-negotiable demand for immediate success in the modern game. It seemed like the days of giving a manager a year or two to make their own impression on the squad was gone and job security was non-existent.

Managerial Changes in the Premier League 13/14

Sunderland Paolo Di Canio22 September 2013
Crystal Palace Ian Holloway23 October 2013
Fulham Martin Jol01 December 2013
West Brom Steve Clarke14 December 2013
Tottenham Hotspur André Villas-Boas16 December 2013
Cardiff City Malky Mackay27 December 2013
Swansea City Michael Laudrup04 February 2014
Fulham René Meulensteen14 February 2014
Norwich City Chris Hughton06 April 2014
Manchester United David Moyes22 April 2014

The glaring question that has emerged from the opening months of this new season is what has changed? Why have no Premier League managers been sacked? The attitudes of top clubs is unlikely to have changed dramatically. With the money involved at the top of the game, hesitation on pulling the trigger can have serious consequences.

Similarly, teams at the bottom of the Premier League table cannot afford to delay a decision in preference of giving their manager time, as before they know it they will be embroiled in a relegation scrap that could see their club fall out of the top division. I have a couple of theories as to why, this season in particular, we have seen no club part ways with their manager.

Patience is in Vogue

Suddenly there seems to be a greater respect toward managers who have just joined a club. Whether it is sympathy in the Premier League community after a record amount of sackings last season or just a change in attitude of the fans, their seems to be a general increase in patience for new managers.

Managers themselves have learned to buy themselves time and some have done this very astutely and effectively. Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho constantly reminded people of his ‘little horse’ analogy, stating that his squad last year was not ready for an assault on the title. It was a clever smokescreen to draw the attention away from the man himself, who came away with his reputation thoroughly unscathed despite a trophy-less season.

Louis van Gaal also played a blinder in his opening few months in charge. Learning from the mistake of David Moyes, van Gaal came in with one thing on his agenda; to lower expectations. The first sound bite after joining Manchester United at manager was that he wanted to wait “three months” before he was judged on his performance. It wasn’t as subtle as Mourninho’s ‘little horse’ theatrics, but the intent was the same.

Transparency from managers seems to have helped them, with fans seeming to appreciate the honesty that is being communicated to them. Brendan Rodgers has accepted his job is in danger and in a strange way this has humanised him somewhat in the eyes of the public, as he is a character who has so often seemed totally in control.

Longest Serving current Premier League Managers

Arsène WengerArsenal18 years, 76 days
Alan PardewNewcastle4 years, 7 days
Sam AllardyceWest Ham3 years, 198 days
Nigel PearsonLeicester City3 years, 31 days
Brendan RodgersLiverpool2 years, 198 days
Paul LambertAston Villa2 years, 197 days
Steve BruceHull City2 years, 191 days
Sean DycheBurnley2 years, 47 days
Harry RedknappQPR2 years, 22 days

The aspiration of building a club that is set-up for the long-term is often overshadowed by the search for success in the short-term, but again I think we have seen a shift in attitudes this season from teams who want to gain some level of stability within the club. Whether you love or loathe Manchester United, what they achieved with Sir Alex Ferguson as manager would be the dream for any club. It shows that stability can breed success and I think that is what many clubs are currently aspiring to.

However, keeping a manager for over a decade does not guarantee success. Stability it one thing, but silverware is the ultimate and definite measure of the success of a club and in the history books the trophies are what will matter the most. Arsene Wenger has been manager at Arsenal for over 18 years and I have the utmost respect for what he has done at the club in a number of areas. However, judge him on Arsenal’s trophy cabinet and you can see success isn’t a given.

teams at the bottom of the Premier League table cannot afford to delay a decision in preference of giving their manager time

Who is in Danger?

We will see a manager depart their club sooner rather than later and whilst no Premier League club will want to be first to part ways, the busy Christmas period will increase tensions at the top and bottom of the table and changes will occur. Teams near the bottom of the table are always going to be looking into making a change.

Sometimes sides who are rock bottom, currently Leicester, hold the approach that a change is unlikely to cause an upturn in fortunes that makes sacking the current boss and hiring a new man worthwhile. It can often be the clubs hovering just above the relegation zone, who, with the threat of falling into the bottom three after going on a bad run, make the decision to change things before it’s too late.

I think Burley’s Sean Dyche is a prime example of a manager who is out of his depth in the Premier League. With Burnley sitting precariously in 17th, their owners must be looking at potential candidates who have Premier League pedigree and can steer their club from danger in the second half of the season.

In terms of the bigger sides in the EPL, Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool will be having sleepless nights about their future. Weneger has been trusted before and I think he will be safe barring a poor run of form and perhaps a defeat to Monaco in the Champions League. It is Rodgers that I think is in big trouble. He has been the best manager Liverpool have had for a long time, but he seems to have lost the dressing room.

Liverpool and Rodgers face a season defining few weeks over a busy Christmas period and Rodgers will need to get the key members of the squad behind him if he is to survive. If he doesn’t, which I would stick my neck out and say he won’t, I think Jurgen Klopp over at Borussia Dortmund would be a prime candidate for the job and a welcome addition to the Premier League.

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