The total number of 2015/16 Premier League managerial casualties has risen to five after the month of December saw both Garry Monk and Jose Mourinho lose their jobs.
When Premier League chairmen smile, there are two rows of gravestones between their Mick Jaggers. They have a membrane like patience, sensitized nerve endings, and a flagrant disregard of support.
On 4th October 2015, Dick Advocaat resigned before being pushed at Sunderland, and Liverpool sacked Brendan Rodgers. At that time, I wrote that six more managers would follow them out of the door by the end of the season. In December, Swansea sacked Garry Monk, and Chelsea sacked Jose Mourinho. Two down, four more to go.
The sacking of Mourinho is one that I called back in October when I created my hit list. It shows that even the greatest managers in the world are chicken feed in comparison to the star players. Mourinho lost the dressing room. Roman Abramovich sided with the dressing room.
People often criticised Sir Alex Ferguson for the way he handled his star players. A great number of them were shown the door when he became aware that their presence could affect the stability of his own. There were times when the Old Trafford faithful questioned the timing of big name departures like Roy Keane and David Beckham. The backing that Ferguson must have had, from his board, wasn’t there for Mourinho. That’s a sad indictment when you consider his quality.
The problem with firing one of the world’s best coaches lies in who the hell replaces him. Sam Allardyce was hired to replace Advocaat. There was the needle up the ass like reaction that gets you a few points when a new gaffer comes in, but that new found enthusiasm has waned. Allardyce will do no better than Advocaat. I won’t be surprised to see another manager sitting in that seat by the end of the season.
The appointment of Jurgen Klopp was an improvement on Rodgers. Liverpool has the right man at the helm now. He needs time. The German can make Liverpool great again. Klopp’s only problem lies in his authenticity. Remi Garde replaced Tim Sherwood, are the two poles apart? Will the eventual successor to Garry Monk get any more song out of the valley boys?
Except Pep Guardiola, there is nobody better than Mourinho, and this is why Louis Van Gaal is odds-on to be the next manager to leave his Premier League position.
Gus Hiddink will get the Chelsea job until the end of the season. Who knows who will replace him? The original plan at Old Trafford was for Louis Van Gaal to remain until the end of the 2016/17 season. That would enable Ryan Giggs to be groomed to take over at the helm. I think that position will change, and don’t be surprised if Giggs ends up managing in Wales as a result.
When Jose Mourinho becomes available, he doesn’t become available for long. The days of Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson managing a club for decades is behind us. Mourinho’s handling at Chelsea is proof of that. The Special One won’t be unemployed for long, and this is why United will act fast.
Louis Van Gaal is an improvement on David Moyes, but it’s still not the United way. Failure to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages, coupled with back-to-back defeats against Bournemouth and Norwich, gives the United board every right to show Van Gaal the door and make sure he keeps it open for Jose Mourinho to walk right in.
There are many differences between Van Gaal and Mourinho, but the most striking is their age. Van Gaal is a man heading for retirement. Mourinho looks younger than most of his players, and herein lies the problem for the development of Giggs.
When the Swansea position became vacant in a few weeks back, Giggs was mentioned as a potential successor. I never thought he would leave. His service for United shows his loyalty. I expected him to remain at the club and take over in time for the 2017/18 season. If Mourinho replaces Van Gaal, then Giggs has to take the Swansea position, if he wants to do a Gary Neville and quicken the ascent of his managerial prowess. Swansea is a good footballing side. Giggs is a Welshman. It makes sense.
As I alluded to earlier, I was right when I said that Mourinho would face the axe. I also correctly predicted that Tim Sherwood would lose his job. So what about my other four remaining predictions?
The Newcastle boss hasn’t left yet, but it’s only a matter of time. He is currently 8/1 at most bookies, with only Van Gaal ahead of him in the pecking order.
West Brom are dour; they remain in the group battling it out above the relegation places, and so I will stick with this one even though he is 20/1 for the chop.
I will eat humble pie with this one. Watford is contending for a Champions League place. At 40/1, I think Flores’s job is as safe as houses.
I placed Koeman on the list because I expected a bigger club to pick him up. However, a terrible run of results sees Koeman installed as a 12/1 shot for the sack. I don’t think that will happen, but I still fancy he may move on before the end of the season.
If I were playing Daily Fantasy Sack a Manager, then I would add Louis Van Gaal, Alex Neil and Sam Allardyce to my team and drop Quique Flores, Ronald Koeman and Tony Pulis.
But I’m not, and what kind of man would I be if I changed my mind?
I will end with a final set of predictions. Man Utd will sack Louis Van Gaal. Ryan Giggs will move to Swansea. Jose Mourinho will move to United. The United fans will complain that the Special One’s parking of the bus, and a stream of one-nil victories is not the United way.