The 2016-17 Premier League campaign kicks off on August 8, roughly three weeks’ time from today, and some clubs are already facing a managerial crisis. Welcome to football.
The last five months have been a whirlwind of managerial rumors. Here’s a short and sweet recap:
- Manchester City announced on February 1 that Manuel Pellegrini would not be retained by the club following the expiration of his contract. His replacement was later announced to be then-Bayern and ex-Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola. He officially took over on July 1.
- Louis van Gaal faced months of scrutiny from media and supporters alike amid the struggles of Manchester United. Following their FA Cup triumph, but a fifth-place position in the league, United cut ties with van Gaal. Rumors for months had it that the club was in contact with JosA� Mourinho, and the a�?Special Onea�? was confirmed as his successor four days after the Dutchman departed.
- Leading into the second week of June, Southampton boss Ronald Koeman continued to bat away reports that he’d replace Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park. However, about a week later, Koeman moved to Everton to replace the Spanish manager.
- Now in need of a manager, Southampton moved quickly and appointed ex-Nice gaffer Claude Puel on a three-year deal.
- When Chelsea sacked Mourinho last December, they appointed Guus Hiddink to a mere caretaker role. Following the culmination of the European Championship, ex-Italy and Juventus boss Antonio Conte took the managerial role at Stamford Bridge.
- Watford suffered a poor run of results in 2016, and the board as a result was unconvinced of Quique SA?nchez Flores’ ability to take the club to further heights in the Premier League. He left the club by mutual consent and ex-Inter boss Walter Mazzarri took charge.
Sam Allardyce replaced Dick Advocaat as Sunderland‘s manager back in October, but he’s already moving on. It’s hard to blame him however as his next job will be as boss of the national team. And now, they’re stuck with David Moyes.
Being the England boss comes with inherent pressure to consistently succeed with the many talented players at his disposal, something Roy Hodgson could not achieve. This bunch aren’t slouches either, but they perennially underachieve. While congratulations are in order, Sunderland probably feel pretty hard done considering their narrow escape from relegation last year and their desire for stability at the club. Now they’re forced to search for another manager just nine months on from appointing a man who’s never been relegated in his managerial career.
Even a team that earned promotion from the Championship last year is getting in on the fun. Steve Bruce has resigned as manager of Hull City following an increase in tensions between him and the club’s hierarchy. Now, Bruce was hot and cold with Hull for the past several months. One day, everything would be okay. The next, he’d be uncertain about his future. Let’s be glad this saga is over.
Bruce led Hull City to promotion last year by winning the Championship Playoff and in 2013-14 by finishing second and earning an automatic promotion. He’s also led Birmingham City to the Premier League on two occasions. His services could be used by any club looking to attain promotion or, well, Sunderland. Looks like he already missed the boat on that one.
In the football world, managers rarely last long. ArsA?ne Wenger has been roaming Arsenal’s touchline since 1996. But to put it in perspective, no current manager aside from him has served at a club for more than four seasons (both Sean Dyche and Eddie Howe have been at Burnley and Bournemouth, respectively, since 2012). It’s truly incredible, yet incredibly frightening.
It’s tough to say what constitutes safety in the managerial realm. Although Watford achieved promotion in 2014-15, Flores was gone less than a year later even though the club avoided relegation. And, despite some poor results and some rather drab performances, van Gaal still guided United to fifth and a FA Cup trophy. That’s not good enough for United supporters that are well-accustomed to success, having had it for two decades. The reality is this was bound to happen when the best manager ever to grace the touchline retired.
This won’t be the end of the changes either, not a by a long shot. Any club that is wallowing in the relegation zone come November and December will be looking to change managers. That’s just what clubs do. Knowing how tough it is to come back from last in the table at Christmas and given what’s at stake, it’s an inevitable prospect. Aside from Leicester City under Nigel Pearson in 2014-15 and Crystal Palace the year prior under Tony Pulis, no one bounces back from last at Christmas. For the record, neither of those men are with those clubs anymore either.