This time of the year can be a perilous one for football managers, many of whom are given their marching orders; often harshly.
But, while those on the wrong end of the managerial stick trudge their way back into the Job Centre, a new vacancy opens doors for others.
There are currently two jobs up for grabs in League Two, at Salford City and Mansfield Town, who are each looking for a boss that can deliver promotion.
Dino Maamria has not featured in the discussion for either post, yet, so The Sack Race got in touch with the Tunisian manager to find out how his own current job search is going…
I got into coaching at a young age while I was still playing. I started at Burnley’s Academy where I developed players that have become established at Premier League level, such as Jay Rodriguez.
I got my first break in management as a player-coach for financially-troubled Northwich Victoria in the National League. At the time they were bottom of the league, 16 points from safety. I was given the job in November (2007) and, against-all-odds, I managed to keep the club safe with a game to spare; winning the Manager of the Year award in the process.
My next survival job was at Southport in the National League. Once again, I took over a club that was bottom of the league, eight points from safety. We went on an unbelievable run of six straight wins, then after five months in the job I left the club comfortably in mid-table, close to the play-off places.
Next, I took charge of Nuneaton Borough mid-way through the 2017/18 season, when the club was 22nd in the National North, and seemingly destined for relegation. We went on an unbelievable run of 10 games unbeaten, and were three points off the play-offs when I left for Stevenage (March 2018).
I had 10 games to save 18th-placed Stevenage from relegation out of League Two. I kept them safe, finishing comfortably in mid-table.
I built a whole new squad in the 2018/19 season, and created an established top-10 team which secured 20 wins and 70 points; we missed out on the play-offs on the last day of the season after finishing one point behind Newport County.
I got sacked seven games into the following season (2019/20), due to a long injury list accrued in pre season.
Dino Maamria during his time at Stevenage
I took over Oldham Athletic a few weeks later, another broken club on-and-off the pitch. They were three points off 24th position, with a poorly assembled squad looking certain for relegation.
I improved the team at every level with some smart recruitment in the January window. When the season stopped in mid-March we were 19 points above the relegation zone; beating Newport County 5-0 in our last home game.
My record reveals that I’m the perfect manager to pick up a club that’s struggling at the bottom of the league, and then successfully drag them to safety. My huge determination, strong work ethics, and my passion for winning have been crucial to this.
Now, I feel like I’ve earned my stripes to take a job at an established and financially secure club with promotion aspirations.
I’ve never had that chance and I think I deserve it.
But, if you look at the recent history of promoted managers from League Two in the last few seasons, you will find the opposite...
- 2019/20: Out of the four promoted managers, only Ryan Lowe had previously won promotion out of League Two.
- 2018/19: Out of the four promoted managers, Paul Tisdale and Micky Mellon had previously won promotion out of League Two.
- 2017/18: None of the four promoted managers had previously experienced promotion out of League Two.
So, in the last three years, from a total of 12 promotions up to League One, only three managers already had promotions on their CV.
My question now is: How am I going to get promoted when I don’t get the chance to manage a financially secure club with the right support structure to push for promotions?
I have always delivered the club’s objectives.
Maybe if a club can give me a project for a promotion objective, who is to say that I won’t deliver that?