Who will be next in the Premier League Sack Race?by Sean Raymond / 21 December 2009, 13:42Tweet
The departure of Mark Hughes from Manchester City at the weekend could well set the Premier League managerial merry-go-round in to full gear and the question is, which Premiership manager is next for the chop?
Hughes' exit from The City of Manchester Stadium has left a bad taste in the mouth of not only City fans but football fans and the media in general. Despite the former Wales and Blackburn boss not delivering the kind of results that his nine figure transfer expenditure may have merited, the manner in which City's billionaire owners went about his dismissal was nothing short of humiliating. For Hughes to know that he was on his way out before he even stepped foot in the dugout for the final time in the team's 4-3 win against Sunderland on Saturday must have taken great effort but for his replacement, Roberto Mancini, to be sat in the stands watching on only rubbed salt in the wounds of the former Manchester United, Barcelona and Chelsea forward.
The actions of the Man City board only act to illustrate how cut throat football management has become but luckily for Mark Hughes, he leaves with his reputation as a good Premier League manager intact, something that is sure to alert several top flight club's who may be considering a managerial change.
The availability of a manager of Hughes' calibre could be enough to force the hand of one of the Premiership's Chairman considering his current managers position. With the busy Christmas period upon us and the transfer window about to open, it is the ideal time of year for club's to look to ring the changes as they aim to salvage something from the second half of the season. However, the burning question remains, who will be the next Premier League manger sacked? And with just five points separating the the bottom nine clubs in the Premier League table, few managers can sit safe in the knowledge that their job is safe heading in to 2010!
The bookmakers still have long time front runners, Gary Megson and Phil Brown to be the next to leave with Bolton boss Megson the 11/4 favourite with Paddy Power and Brown a 7/2 chance. However, both of these managers have shown signs of finding some sort of form in recent weeks and could well have bought themselves a little more time. West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola hasn't been as fortunate with recent results, with The Hammers only boasting one win from their last seven games and with Portsmouth and Spurs next up, the end could be nigh for Zola and Hughes would be an ideal replacement at Upton Park, the Italian is 11/2 to be the next manager to leave.
Another club who may consider Hughes as a viable option is Everton, who find themselves just two points above the drop zone and just one league win in ten to their name. Current manager, David Moyes, will have been in charge at Goodison Park for eight years in March and normally you would think he has one of the safest jobs in the Premiership. However, it may be a case of both parties running of patience! Could Everton be tiring Moyes? or is it possible that Moyes is running out of patience with Everton's lack of resources ? Either way, The Sack Race suspect all is not what it appears at the Merseyside club and at 20/1 with Skybet, we have seen worse opportunities than Moyes being the next manager to pick up his P45.
Also on Merseyside, there isn't much chance of festive cheer on the red half of the city as Liverpool continue to struggle and anything less than maximum points over Christmas is likely to see Rafa Benitez feeling the heat despite the freezing temperatures! The Spaniard is 13/2 to be the next manager potted and whilst the Reds faithful have remained loyal for some time, patience is wearing thin and whilst Mark Hughes is unlikely to top the short list of possible replacements at Anfield, owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks are sure to have a few ideas of who could replace Benitez if things don't improve fast.
Hughes was only the second Premier League manager of the season to lose his job, following Paul Hart at Portsmouth last month but we at the Sack Race are predicting that things are about to get eventful. Watch this Space!