After Brendan Rodgers was sacked by Liverpool, Lee Davy offers his opinion on six more names that will be looking for new jobs by the end of the season.
Once upon a time, a fresh-faced Liverpool manager called Brendan Rodgers held up three white envelopes. He told his new squad that they contained the names of three players who would, “let us down this year.”
There were no names in the envelope. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. The buck always stops with the manager.
Rodgers has paid the ultimate price for failing to improve upon his stunning 2013/2014 season when they came so close to winning the Premier League for the first time in a very long time.
He has been sacked. He had two and a half years remaining on his contract. He will pick up close to £7m in compensation. The club has already opened talks with former Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp. The Liverpool negotiating team expect the 48-year old to be in charge by the weekend.
His sacking is a blow to British managers hopeful of one day managing one of the top clubs in British football. Rodgers sacking, and David Moyes before him, now means the top five clubs in British football don’t have a single British manager amongst them. Even more damning is a look at the bottom of the Premier League table – it’s laden with them. Crystal Palace’s Alan Pardew is the only British manager with a team in the top half of the Premier League.
The axe fell for Rodgers mere days after Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat decided his heart would be better off away from the North East. It was a classic case of jumping before he would have eventually been pushed.
The Premier League has been in existence since 1992/93. Four managers lost their jobs that season after Chelsea sacked Ian Porterfield, Doug Livermore & Ray Clemence were sacked by Spurs, Steve Coppell resigned from his position at Crystal Palace and the legendary Brian Clough retired from his long standing position at Forest.
The most the Premier League has ever lost was 15 (1994/95), and last season came close to matching that target with 13 managers leaving their jobs for a myriad of different reasons. We are now in the 23rd iteration of the Premier League. Eight managers lose their jobs on average per season, two have already gone – who will be the remaining six?
1. Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho is one of the most illustrious managers in modern football. He returned to Chelsea for the second time last season, and immediately won the Premier League at a canter.
Chelsea are experiencing their worst start to a season in 37 years. They are currently languishing in 16th place in the table, and the Special One has been handed the dreaded vote of confidence by the club’s owner Roman Abramovich – a man who has sacked eight managers in the past nine years.
Mourinho’s seven minute rant at the end of Chelsea’s home defeat to Southampton, on the weekend, is a sign that all’s not well within camp Mourinho. This man can pick land any job in the world. He will not stay put if he cannot command the dressing room, and there are press reports suggesting that he has already relinquished control.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he resigned, or was sacked, by the end of the season.
2. Tim Sherwood
The Aston Villa coach has a real problem on his hands. He sold arguably their two best players in the summer in Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph, and the replacements are going to need time to bed in. Unfortunately, for Sherwood, by the time that happens they will be playing their football in the Championship.
Villa has had four different managers in the past five seasons, and to give you an example of the way managers are treated at Villa Park, Sherwood’s predecessor, Paul Lambert, was sacked over the phone.
3. Steve McClaren
Not everyone is made from boss material; Steve McClaren is a case in point.
He was absolutely mustard alongside Sir Alex Ferguson, at Man United, but there is something wrong with the picture every time I see him on the sidelines at a game.
I don’t know if it’s the Croatian umbrella, his penchant for sitting in the stands, or his incoherent strategy board – he doesn’t seem to fit the bill. When I watch him during post match TV interviews he is always smiling, and yet his team hasn’t won one of their first eight games of the season – losing five. He has even slipped into a routine of reminding us how hard his job is.
With four managers in the past five years, and expectations high at St James Park, I can’t see McClaren lasting that long.
4. Tony Pulis
I have a grey hair on the side of my head. It sticks out like a sore thumb. I want to pull it out. It doesn’t belong. It upsets the balance of things. West Brom are like my grey hair. I watch them on Match of the Day each weekend and they don’t look like they belong. I want to pull them out and place them back into the Championship.
Pulis is great at what Pulis does, but this is a club that has had nine different managers in the past five seasons, and are currently the relegation bubble boys. Pulis doesn’t take teams down, but I don’t think he will be around long enough to see that happen anyway.
5. Quique Flores
The appointment of Quique Flores winds me up. I have no problem seeing the very best coaches in the game taking the very best jobs in the game. But Quique Flores? He’s hardly Jose Mourinho. Doesn’t Britain have a coach worthy of that position? Why did Watford have to seek for services abroad?
To be fair, Watford haven’t had a bad start to the season. They have the joint meanest defense in the Premier League, but like West Brom, they can’t score goals. Add their lack of firepower to the fact that Flores is the eighth coach in five seasons, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
6. Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman is one of the brightest young managers in Europe. To do what he has done after the heart and soul of his football club was sold to Liverpool, is one of the most amazing feats of football management in recent years.
His vision extends beyond the football pitch. The signings of Mane, Pelle and Tadic are fantastic. His team play with solidity, strength and speed. Koeman is too big for Southampton. If Mourinho leaves Chelsea it could set off a chain reaction of big appointments that sees Koeman leaving the South Coast for a bigger challenge.