5 EPL Managers Who Deserve To Get The Ax
5 EPL Managers Who Deserve to Get the Ax
Nowhere in the world is the infamous managerial carousel more prominent than in the English Premier League.
There are very few of our 20 candidates that will attest to feeling 100 percent secure in their current role. In what has been coined ‘the best league in the world,’ football is very much a business. The stakes are high, but revenue is even higher, and therefore so is the scrutiny.
Okay, so maybe our headline was a little misleading; these five poor fellows are not necessarily deserving of the sack, but are simply those whose heads have edged a little closer to the chopping block than others.
The EPL season is only seven games old, and we’re already one down, with Sunderland deciding to cut their losses on the roll-of-the-dice direction that was Paolo Di Canio. The Black Cats already find themselves six points from safety, which, even at such an embryonic stage of the season, is a concern.
It’s an unforgiving, cutthroat business, but one that is also very fickle. For instance, after just one game this season, Arsenal chief Arsene Wenger was fending off the wolves from his door who were calling for his head after a 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa. The general consensus was that his time was up and that he had seemingly lost the plot. Fast forward a couple of months and what do you know, Arsenal sit atop the tree having won five of their six games since that day; normal service is resumed and Wenger becomes a prime example of avoiding the temptation of a knee-jerk reaction can pay dividends.
The 2013-14 season saw five of the 20 clubs taking a fresh approach with their leadership. For the first time in living memory, three of last season’s top four clubs began under new management, which is incredible to think that a man can lose his job after achieving such a feat – such is the nature of the beast in soccer these days. As you will see as you move through the slides, there is little room for settling in, as even some of the newbies are under pressure to validate their recent appointments.
With the clamor for instant success and a quick fix rife in the English game, the brandishing of a pink slip is never too far away. Read on for the five candidates on which the dreaded ax is most likely to fall.
Chris Machin is a New York Giants correspondent at Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter, add him on Google or as a friend on Facebook
5. Mark Hughes - Stoke City
Mark Hughes took over at Stoke City in the summer following an exceptional seven-year stint by Tony Pulis
Pulis was another of those relatively long-serving managers who fell into the, 'he's taken us as far as he can' mantra. For example, the club was in no danger of being relegated, but there were no real signs of progression. The frustrating thing about this naive misconception is that there are hundreds of clubs that would give anything to trade places with Stoke City in search of such annual stability.
During his tenure, Pulis took the Potters to the Premier League for the very first time, solidifying their top-flight standing whilst embarking on a Europa League campaign and making an FA Cup final appearance.
Those who called for Pulis to go were soon reminded to be careful with what they wished for, as Mark Hughes was appointed as his predecessor. Hughes' most recent job was nothing short of a disaster at Queens Park Rangers, whilst he was not-so-fondly remembered for doing very little with the billions at his disposal at Manchester City.
Hughes is currently starting to shake a three-game losing streak with pressure mounting from stands. For a manager that promised to get the team playing football, four goals in seven games (the lowest in the league) is not acceptable.
Stoke City chairman Peter Coates is not one for jumping the gun too quickly, though Hughes is in danger of being compared to Pulis from the offing, and the Stoke City fans that have fond memories of their previous gaffer may turn very quickly.
4. Ian Holloway - Crystal Palace
It may seem absurd to mention the likeable Ian Holloway in this category, considering what he has achieved in his short time at Crystal Palace.
Having only been appointed to the position in November of last year, Holloway guided the Eagles back into the promised land via the Championship Playoffs. His mischievous demeanor makes him a firm fan favorite wherever he goes, much like Selhurst Park after he treated the supporters to that memorable day out at Wembley in May.
What may seem more absurd is the notion of a newly-promoted EPL club replacing the manager that got them there without even allowing him a full season to operate. However, such is the magnitude of Premier League status, clubs often do not have a year to gamble with.
Southampton sacked Nigel Adkins last season after back-to-back promotions, proving that there really is no room for sentiment. Though many people protested the decision, Southampton rose up the league table and survived comfortably. They are currently riding high in fourth position this season, and it is on this evidence that other teams may begin to follow suit.
Of course we have to be realistic, keeping Crystal Palace in the EPL on a shoe-string budget was never going be simple, though after one win and six defeats in their opening seven games thus far, Crystal Palace may soon be explaining their actions as 'nothing personal, it's just business'.
3. Alan Pardew - Newcastle United
Happenings behind the scenes at Newcastle United have been raising eyebrows for some time now. The appointment of Alan Pardew was unpopular with those Newcastle United fans who felt the job was in need of a much 'bigger' character.
Pardew's high earners were then sold-off under his nose and he was deemed to be expected to work with a relatively low budget. Having exceeded all expectations, finishing fifth in the EPL and winning the LMA Manager of the Year award, Pardew and club owner Mike Ashley could afford themselves a little self satisfaction at proving their doubters wrong.
Having peaked the season before, Newcastle spent the majority of last season embroiled in a relegation battle, giving the Magpies' fans all the ammunition they needed to re-charge the revolt. Ashley decided to throw some money behind the man he had signed on an unprecedented eight-year contract just months before, and the mini revival began. Pardew brought in a host of new players, many of them french native, and Newcastle survived.
Upon entering the 2013-14 EPL season you got the impression that it was sink or swim time for Pardew. The appointment of Joe Kinnear as a seemingly needless Director of Football was the first indication that Ashley was preparing for life after Pardew. Having been afforded such riches in the January transfer window, Newcastle were limited to loan signings, which further angered their supporters and in-turn heaped more pressure on the manager.
Newcastle currently sits 11th in the table and are treading water with as many wins as they have defeats (3). You just get the impression that all is not well in the North-East and that Pardew may jump before he is pushed, if the team's fortunes were to take another nosedive.
2. David Moyes - Manchester United
It simply has to be the ultimate poisoned chalice.
Replacing Alex Ferguson as Manchester United's boss after two decades of unmatched success was always going to be a thankless task, even more so for a manager with such incomparable credentials as David Moyes.
So he's a Scottish manager with a fiery temperament that is used to serving long tenures with his clubs -- that is about where the comparisons between Moyes and Ferguson finish. The retirement of Ferguson and subsequent announcement of his successor came very much out of the blue, which begged the question how prepared Manchester United actually were for life after Fergie.
On current standing, the answer would be 'not very'. Moyes was under the spotlight from day one, fending off questions about his ability to handle the pressure of arguably the biggest sporting job in the world, as well as some of the biggest sporting egos on the planet. The doubt brigade was out in force as United was around to plug a few gaps at the last minute.
Whilst the appointment of Moyes came very much endorsed by Ferguson, there is a section of the Manchester United support who have still not warmed to the decision, and are becoming more vocal by the week. Moyes is widely considered to be out of his depth in his new role and United's current position of ninth in the EPL (below Hull City), and is not doing him any favors.
United was ultimately very patient with Ferguson, who did not bring any notable success until a few years into his reign. The bar has been raised since then, and we wonder if one of the biggest sporting franchises in the world can afford to simply see how things go. If not, the clock is already ticking for David Moyes.
1. Martin Jol - Fulham
It was widely reported in the press a few weeks ago that Martin Jol was next in line for the managerial chop.
Whilst fending off questions about his future, Jol bought himself some time with a 1-0 victory over Stoke City in the last round of EPL fixtures, which was their first win since the opening day of the season.
Though Fulham will always be a relatively small club on the EPL landscape, there can be little doubt that the talent at their current disposal is worthy of more than their current 17th position in the table. Bryan Ruiz, Darren Bent, Dimitar Berbatov and Maarten Stekelenburg are all top players. while new additions like Scott Parker should have helped improve the team's fortunes.
The one huge x-factor in this equation is the change that has taken place at the very top rung of Fulham FC. Long-serving owner Mohamed Al-Fayed relinquished his position at the club, selling to Jacksonville Jaguars' owner Shahid Khan.
How long will it be before the natural instinct of new ownership kicks in and Khan brings in his own man for the job? Considering Khan believes he will be able to take the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Super Bowl, Martin Jol better qualify for the Champions League this season, otherwise his number will be up.