The game is changing.
Modern Premier League football is a world away from the football your dad grew up watching. The invasion of foreign players, the injection of TV money, the spike in ticket prices and merchandise, games on a Friday night and in some cases, multiple managers in one season.
It is now becoming the norm for Premier League clubs to pull the trigger and sack their managers when results are not going their way. But is this the right thing to do?
At the time of writing we are halfway through the 2017/18 season, and six clubs (Swansea, Leicester, West Ham, West Brom, Everton and Crystal Palace) have already sacked their managers – with Watford having employed Marco Silva at the start of the campaign. And with the exception of Swansea City who have only recently parted ways with Paul Clement and not yet found a replacement, and West Brom who appear to be stuck in a rut, all the rest of these clubs find themselves in a better position than they were in previously.
This is of course, the aim. Why else would a manager get sacked? However, there is a general feeling amongst fans that managers are getting sacked too soon, and not being given enough time to leave their mark on the team – for example, Frank De Boer lasted just four league games in charge of Crystal Palace. Well, the allure of TV money is becoming an increasing factor into why clubs are sacking managers early. After gaining promotion to the Premier League, Huddersfield Town entitled themselves to £185 million. That is how much Premier League football is now worth – and clubs fear losing this income. Some may need it to survive.
Remember Leicester City’s heroics during the 2015-16 season? Of course you do. Claudio Ranieri did the unthinkable and led his squad of relegation favourites to Premier League glory in one of the most inspiring sports stories of our generation. Within 12 months he was out of a job.
Leicester struggled last season, suffering a hangover from their exploits the previous campaign. In February of this year they were lying 17th, just one point clear of the relegation zone and in bad form. Ranieri was dismissed.
At this point I shall revert to the flawless medium of an argument with my mates. The majority claimed that Ranieri going was a mistake. My brother and I claimed it was the right call. They argued it was disrespectful for Leicester to sack the Italian – who could arguably be regarded as their best ever manager – so soon after lifting the Premier League trophy. However, I was of the belief that it was slightly disrespectful to do so but that the game has changed. In the current climate Leicester couldn’t afford to allow even the possibility of getting relegated. He had to go.
Leicester’s form picked up rapidly and they currently sit 8th in the table this season.
And as mentioned previously, the trend generally continues:
Crystal Palace: 20th -> 16th
West Ham United: 18th -> 17th
Everton: 13th -> 9th
Leicester City: 14th -> 8th
West Brom: 17th -> 19th
Swansea City: 20th -> 20th
Watford currently sit 10th this season under new management; they finished 17th last season.
The stats therefore don’t lie. Sacking managers in the Premier League seems to work out, at least this season. It’s quite clear Swansea are in dire need of a new recruit, after just watching their 5-0 beat down at Anfield.
Football is different to what it used to be. The notion of clinging onto a long serving manager may seem romantic, but in the current climate of the Premier League it’s a fading art, particularly in the lower half of the table. And if you need one last example, Mark Hughes – a long serving manager at Stoke City – is the bookies’ favourite to get sacked next.
Football is one fickle game.
What do you make of these points? Let us know in the comments below!