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Stick or twist: the life of a Premier League manager

In a world where ‘money makes the world go round’, it is the monetary value of a clubs positioning and status in leagues that is a significant factor in the high turnover rate of Premier League managers too. As Mauricio Pellegrino was suddenly struck from his position as manager of Southampton Football Club this week, he became the ninth casualty of the current Premier League season.

Having only lasted 30 league games, he left the Saints sitting 17th and only one point above the drop zone. Coincidently, Southampton have already replaced Pellergrinio with the recruitment of well-experienced Mark Hughes. Having been at Stoke for over five years, Hughes was himself at the end of a Premier League sacking this season and will be hoping to draw Southampton away from the poisonous Premier League drop zone.

With Pellegrino being the 9th victim of a Premier League exit this campaign, he joins a list of established managers and bosses who arguably at no time deserved to be given the boot. However, it highlights the intensity of England’s top flight and how from day one, they are blitzed with pressure and immense expectation. As displayed this season, a manager can be given excessively little time to make his mark and change a club’s fortunes and it is not a job for the faint-hearted.

It was Frank De Boer who was the first to be sacked this season after only lasting a pathetic four games in South London at Crystal Palace. Shakespeare and Koeman followed after, with the pair managing less than double figures in league games for the season. Bilic and Pulis were next as they struggled with West Ham and West Brom respectively. The list continued and Paul Clement maintained Swansea’s high turnover of managers with eight managers in the last four years managing the helm in Wales. Mark Hughes exited next after managing 22 league games and Marco Silva, being possibly the harshest of sackings this campaign, became the next victim. With only one more manager needing the boot to take it to double figures for the season, 90MAAT takes a closer look at why managing a Premier League team can be so difficult and have an immense amount of pressure.

Why is it so hard to stay at a club as manager?

  1. The need to remain a Premier League club

There is no doubt about it that the Premier League is still the most exciting and eagerly watched league in the World. The money generated from a club remaining in the Premier League year on year is utterly significant. Although there are weighty parachute payments on offer to relegated clubs, it is still highly preferred to remain in the top flight, with TV rights having a key part to play in this. Alongside this, there is consistently now a fear from owners that once you are relegated and demoted to the Championship, it is a substantial task to return. The bottom five teams currently within the league have all replaced their managers this season in the expectation of finding something new and giving their side a breath of life in their quests to remain in the league.

  1. Players and manager’s salaries

Once more, this factor is related to wealth. As the first line of this article highlights, money is a compelling factor into the departure of managers in today’s footballing world. With players and managers on ludicrous money, they are given the responsibility of their sides playing good football. Although sometimes the players are at great fault for destitute performances, it is always the managers who bare the brunt of the fallout and must take responsibility for a sides poor run in form. With the pay packets received by managers today, an owner cannot afford to keep paying a boss who simply is not delivering for their club.

  1. Fans expectation

Undoubtedly, a team goes out there to perform for their fans. At the end of the day, the fans are the ones who pay obscene amounts of money to watch their team on a Saturday afternoon, a Saturday afternoons costs include tickets, travel, food&drink and the money soars. If the fans are not impressed by what they are seeing the pressure can soon mount on teams. The fact is, a crowd of 20,000+ are more influential than one manager standing on the side-line and the fans can often have a big effect on their managers fate.

We have seen already this season a few cases of miserable fans, most recently at West Ham who have already sacked Slaven Bilic this season. Although a lot of the disappointment in this case is with the chairman of the club, the form on the pitch has not helped too and this has resulted in ugly scenes at West Ham recently. If the form on the pitch was better, the fans would not be as angry as they currently are.

  1. Owners expectation

The owners are the ones who pay the wages and essentially who the managers have to impress. If the owners of the club are not happy a bosses’ tenure therefore maybe less than initially expected. This season, although Watford were having possibly one of their best campaigns in the Premier League, a bad run of form seen the end of Marco Silva.

Leicester City, who only won the Premier League two seasons ago, got rid of their title winning manager and then the coach who had such a significant impact in their success. This was clearly due to the owners feeling the managers were not guiding Leicester in the direction they wanted them to go in.

Although, in a lot of cases, a managers sacking is possibly unreasonable, the owners essentially make the decisions and this cannot be argued with.

  1. Scrutiny of tactics

With programmes such as Match of the Day, Goals on Sunday and news broadcasts such as Sky Sports News; managers are put under so much pressure to get tactics right. If they are going in with the wrong tactics it won’t be forgotten about and they will be heavily criticised. Although managers are only human, they are expected to get tactics right every game and if not then they can have trouble.

Alongside the five factors above, there are many influences into a manager’s departure. As many reading this article would have witnessed the greatness of Sir Alex’s Fergusons reign at Manchester United, which lasted for 27 seasons, the likeliness of a tenure which lasts for as long as Sir Alex’s did again is almost unimaginable. Once Arsene Wenger departs at Arsenal, the chances of seeing a manager at a club for longer than 10 seasons, will be minimal. Although sad, this is the state football is in now and the pressure on managers is just too much for them to last.

Written by Eamon Kitching.

Eamon Kitching

21. Loughborough University Student developing my writing skills with 90MAAT. Leicester City fan still holding onto our 15/16 Premier League success.

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Premier League Table

# Team MP W D L P
1 Liverpool 29 27 1 1 82
2 Manchester City 28 18 3 7 57
3 Leicester City 29 16 5 8 53
4 Chelsea 29 14 6 9 48
5 Manchester United 29 12 9 8 45
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 29 10 13 6 43
7 Sheffield United 28 11 10 7 43
8 Tottenham Hotspur 29 11 8 10 41
9 Arsenal 28 9 13 6 40
10 Burnley 29 11 6 12 39
11 Crystal Palace 29 10 9 10 39
12 Everton 29 10 7 12 37
13 Newcastle United 29 9 8 12 35
14 Southampton 29 10 4 15 34
15 Brighton & Hov… 29 6 11 12 29
16 West Ham United 29 7 6 16 27
17 Watford 29 6 9 14 27
18 AFC Bournemouth 29 7 6 16 27
19 Aston Villa 28 7 4 17 25
20 Norwich City 29 5 6 18 21

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