The savage sacking season has well and truly exploded into actionby Jack Kitson / 05 October 2016, 13:07
The “sacking season” tends to crop up in that chaotic time of the year when the air has an extra bite to it and the first leaves of Autumn start to flutter to the ground.
It marks a turbulent time when job security suddenly becomes elusive, when the pressure gauge starts to rattle, and fan frustration is propelled up a notch. In turn twitchy, trigger-happy owners rashly react by hammering the panic button, resulting in a spate of sackings which swamp the managerial sphere.
The first couple of months of an English football season generally float by with departures from the dugout few and far between, and then BANG, the flood gates open and there is an epidemic of sackings, with casualties cropping up left right and centre, which has once again proved to be the case this season…
…earlier in the 2016/17 campaign the opening month of August breezed by without incident, while September was equally tranquil on the managerial front, up until Monday 26th at least, when Leyton Orient’s sudden sacking of Andy Hessenthaler triggered a tornado of carnage, which has ripped through the top-4 tiers of English football, while even the England manager was sent packing.
During a tumultuous nine days (26th Sept - 4th Oct) a staggering six managers from the Premier League and Football League have been ejected from their hot seats, while one gaffer is on the verge of joining the rest in the job centre following a suspension pending an internal investigation.
9 days of carnage
As mentioned this year’s sacking season erupted into action on 26th September when Leyton Orient’s merciless owner, Francesco Becchetti, chucked out his seventh gaffer in just two years.
The following day Nigel Pearson was abruptly suspended by Derby County just two hours before their match at Cardiff - a situation that still hasn’t been resolved but is likely to end with Pearson leaving the Rams - while few could predict the shocking scenes that shook English football that evening.
The Daily Telegraph dropped a bombshell video which showed the England manager, Sam Allardyce, telling undercover reporters how to bend FA rules on the third-party ownership of players. The shock revelation triggered a media firestorm and within 24 hours Big Sam’s reign as England manager had come to a shattering end after just one game and 67 days.
Wednesday also saw the Football League’s rock-bottom club, Newport County, terminate the contract of Warren Feeney, who had registered just six points from nine games.
The carnage continued on Thursday as Tony Mowbray decided to step down from his position at Coventry City, who at the time were the only club in the Football League without a win to their name this season.
Three days of relative calmness followed this savage four-day storm, but then on Monday two more managerial tenures were turned into ashes as Aston Villa axed Roberto Di Matteo, and then Swansea ditched Francesco Guidolin…on his birthday of all days…before instantly installing Bob Bradley as his replacement.
Refusing to be left out of the action Cardiff became the third Welsh club to dispense of their manager - in the space of a week - on Tuesday when they gave Paul Trollope the boot, bringing in the veteran Neil Warnock as his replacement.
Which manager will be next?
Take your pick.
In the top-flight it’s West Ham boss Slaven Bilic who now leads the Premier League Sack Race, although Sunderland’s David Moyes and Stoke gaffer Mark Hughes are also wobbling nervously on the managerial tightrope. Tony Pulis also finds himself under pressure despite West Brom’s respectable start to the season.
In the Championship, as stated, Pearson is unlikely to stay on in charge of Derby, although the complex process means that this one could slither on for a while. Alan Stubbs has lost his last four games in charge of rock-bottom Rotherham, while Owen Coyle and Philippe Montanier are both feeling the heat at Blackburn and Nottingham Forest respectively.
Down in League One Steve Robinson will be fearing for his future at basement club Oldham, whereas Russell Slade’s bright start to life at Charlton is now a thing of the past, but while Millwall have disappointed in recent weeks their club legend boss Neil Harris is unlikely to be going anywhere soon.
Paul Tisdale is currently the longest-serving manager in the Football League, accumulating over 10 years in the Exeter City dugout. But, the club’s woeful start to the season has thrust his future into the spotlight. Gary Johnson’s Cheltenham have stuttered out of the blocks on their return to League Two, where as Darren Way’s Yeovil are struggling towards the foot of the table.