Season of goodwill? Not for England’s unloved managers
LONDON, (Reuters) – Christmas is still a few days away but already Premier League managers are piling up on the scrapheap like unloved toys.
Less than a week after Tottenham Hotspur axed Andre Villas-Boas and West Bromwich Albion sent Steve Clarke packing, Cardiff City’s Malky Mackay had on Friday reportedly been told by Malaysian owner Vincent Tan to resign or be sacked.
Tottenham’s stand-in manager Tim Sherwood described events at White Hart Lane as “madness” after taking charge of the team for the 2-1 League Cup defeat by West Ham United on Wednesday.
The truth is, however, that wisdom and logic do not seem to apply in the modern football world where the expectations of club owners are often out of kilter with reality.
Even with Mackay still technically in his job, a quarter of managers who began the Premier League season have gone, with Villas-Boas the highest-profile casualty despite his side being only five points off the top four.
The three clubs in the relegation zone, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Fulham have all hit the panic button with Paolo di Canio, Ian Holloway and Martin Jol all gone.
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce is also under intense pressure with his side perched just above the bottom three and games against Manchester United and Arsenal coming next.
It is a grim picture and a contrast to last season when only three Premier League managers were sacked mid-campaign and Manchester City got rid of Roberto Mancini in May, a year after he took the club to the title.
Trigger-happy chairman are not just a by-product of the cash-rich Premier League either.
Gianfranco Zola last week became the seventh Championship (second division) manager to go since July, while in the division below, League One, eight have left their posts.
Being a manager in England has never been so precarious, according to Hull City boss Steve Bruce.
“Oh my gosh – Merry Christmas… But nothing surprises me any more because of the way football has gone,” was Bruce’s reaction when told of Mackay’s predicament.