5 Signs Your Club's Manager Is Next To Get Sacked


What leads to a football manager getting fired? Today on the blog Graham Ruthven gives us signs your club's manager is about to get the chop.

The Premier League is a ruthless arena. Patience is a precious commodity and few are afforded the luxury of it. Paulo Di Canio, who was dismissed from his job at Sunderland in September, won this season’s sack race. The departures of Ian Holloway and Martin Jol soon followed. Here are five reasons your manager will be the next to go.

#1 – A Poor Transfer Strategy

Such was the optimism at White Hart Lane ahead of the new season Spurs were seen as potential title challengers. Four months later that hope has fallen by the wayside and Andre Villas-Boas is feeling the pressure.

When Spurs sold Gareth Bale for a world record fee of around £80 million, signing seven players with the windfall, it was described as replacing Elvis Presley with The Beatles. However, Spurs seemed to have ended up with a shoddy tribute band instead.

Of that seven only Vlad Chiriches and Paulinho have truly excelled, with Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela particularly disappointing thus far. Of course we should be wary of premature judgment but Spurs have undoubtedly missed the match-winning ability of Bale, with nobody stepping forward to pick up the slack.

At Norwich City a host of expensive summer signings have also failed to hit the ground running. Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper arrived at Carrow Road with impressive pedigree, signed for a combined £14 million by Chris Hughton as he looked to give his side more potency in attack. Yet the duo have netted just five goals between them, although Hooper has started to find his feet after scoring in the crucial 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Leroy Fer, who was signed from FC Twente in the summer, has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League. In the Eredivisie Fer was a physical force of nature but the 23 year old has failed to impose himself on English football in the same way.

#2 – A Meddling Owner

Every club owner thinks they can do a better job than the manager. However, most can refrain themselves short of picking the team. Most.

Malky Mackay is doing a good job at Cardiff City. Having led the Bluebirds (or is it Redbirds now?) to promotion last season the Scottish coach has given his side a solid chance of avoiding an immediate return to the Championship, taking 14 points from their opening 14 games. Cardiff have even recorded positive results against the two Manchester giants, beating City and drawing with United.

However, Cardiff’s Malaysian owner Vincent Tan is growing restless. He’s already dismissed the club’s head of recruitment Iain Moody, replacing him with the work experience guy, riling the club’s supporters even further. Considering his high stock within the game Mackay could jump before he’s pushed.

#3 - A Stagnant Attack

Most struggling teams have one thing in common: a lack of cutting edge up front.

The Hammers have found the net just 12 times from 14 league fixtures this season, slipping into the Premier League bottom three with defeat at Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

In hindsight ploughing your entire summer transfer budget into an injury prone, one-dimensional striker probably wasn’t the best strategy, and indeed Andy Carroll is yet to make an appearance this season due to a foot injury.

With West Ham short of other attacking options Sam Allardyce has been forced to play a number of players out of position, experimenting with Ravel Morrison as a striker. For all of Morrison’s talent the experiment hasn’t worked.

#4 - The Blame Game

Like birds fleeing a storm an angry media outburst is normally a sign of impending chaos in football. So when Villas-Boas started pointing the finger at everyone but himself in a recent interview alarm bells began to wail.

Instead of shouldering the blame himself for Spurs poor run of form Villas-Boas angled accusations at the players, the referees and even the club’s own fans. The tactic has hardly inspired confidence in his already dispirited players and has turned sections of the Spurs support against him. Is it the beginning of the end for AVB at WHL?

#5 – Poor Results

This one is obvious.

Football is a results business, so the cliché states. If points and victories are the currency of football management then a dismal run of form makes a poor man. And if that is to be the case Allardyce could be the next to go.

West Ham have won just one of their last seven league games, taking them to within a single place of the relegation zone. Whether that is down to injuries or misfortune could be seen as irrelevant by a chairman growing increasingly nervous about the club’s position.


Next Manager To Leave Post Odds - Odds as at 7th December 2013.

 Stan JamesSkybetLadbrokesWilliamHill
C Hughton 2.50 2.50 2.75 2.62
S Allardyce 5.00 5.00 5.50 5.00
A Villas-Boas 7.00 5.00 6.00 6.00
M Mackay 7.00 10.00 5.00 6.00
G Poyet 21.00 21.00 21.00 17.00
M Hughes 21.00 29.00 17.00 17.00
A Pardew 34.00 41.00 26.00 34.00



Follow Graham on Twitter: @grahamruthven

Read more of Graham's work at The New York Times Soccer Blog

Graham Ruthven is a freelance football writer based in Scotland, and has written for the NYTimes, MSN, ESPN, Four Four Two and Scottish TV among others. Curator of football shirts, apostle of Dimitar Berbatov and self-proclaimed football hipster willing to jump on any bandwagon. Still maintains Dennis Bergkamp didn’t mean it. @grahamruthven