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Can November Pick Up Where October Left Off On The Sack Race?

Thursday 6th November 2014
October is traditionally the month during which English football witnesses a precipitous increase in managerial casualties, as tetchy chairmen wield the axe following insufficient, or even disastrous, starts to the season. October 2014 has proved to be no different after 10 changes were inflicted throughout the top-four tiers, including a league high five departures in the murky managerial waters of the Championship!

Below we take a look at how October's Sack Race played out in both the Premier League and Football League.

Premier League

The Premier League may still be tempestuously waiting for the first sacking of the season, but there has certainly been no shortage of suitors for that abominable allocation. Harry Redknapp, Alan Pardew, Gus Poyet and Paul Lambert all flirted dangerously with the chop throughout October, with the odds indicating that Redknapp in particular came perilously close to losing his job at QPR. However, all four managers remain at the helm…for now…although, while Redknapp and Pardew picked up valuable victories in the closing stages of the month, it was Poyet and Lambert who suffered devastating defeats, which has piled on the pressure as they tread precariously into November.

Meanwhile, praise must be heaped upon the shoulders of both Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce, whose respective teams, Southampton (2nd) and West Ham (4th), are soaring refreshingly high in the Champions League spots, much to the bewilderment of the traditional top-four trio of Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool. Koeman continues to work wonders at the Saints, whereas Big Sam has swatted away the early season pressure by leading the Hammers to three consecutive top-flight triumphs, including a dazzling 2-1 win over defending champions Man City.


As expected the Championship has been in the spotlight following another spattering of changes at the helm, ranging from the inevitable to the perplexing. The expected sackings were Dougie Freedman (Bolton), Lee Clark (Birmingham) and inevitably Jose Riga (Blackpool), in what proved to be a cursed month for managers in charge of teams beginning with B.

The peculiar was Billy McKinlay after he lost his job at Watford after just two unbeaten games. Meanwhile the farcical, bordering laughable, came at - surprise surprise - Leeds, whose embarrassingly trigger-happy chairman, Massimo Cellino, has now staggeringly failed to give a gaffer more than six games to prove himself, for the third time since May. Good luck Neil Redfearn.

Stuart Pearce's early season swagger has rapidly been reduced to a stumble and now a fall, following a dire run of seven games without a win. Nottingham Forest have subsequently plummeted from top of the table to just outside of the play-offs, and are now the same amount of points adrift of the summit as they are from 14th. But that's the immensely competitive nature of the division for you.

Kenny Jackett continues to flourish at high-flying Wolves, while Eddie Howe has propelled Bournemouth up to fourth, with the club's most recent league match a stunning 8-0 demolition of Birmingham at St Andrews. Also, let's not forget Kit Symons who simply has to be handed the Fulham job on a permanent basis after inspiring a miraculous change of fortunes at Craven Cottage, having led the Londoners to five wins in eight matches, compared to Felix Magath's pitiful one point from seven league games.

It's been a relatively uneventful month down in League One, at least compared to the chaotic scenes in the tiers it's sandwiched in between. In fact the only pertinent news in terms of the managerial merry-go-round occurred when Russ Wilcox was sacked by Scunthorpe United towards the start of the month.

The Irons made the decision just five months after Wilcox had orchestrated the club's remarkable promotion up to League One, however a torrid run of eight defeats in 11 matches cost him his job this season. Wilcox, who proceeded to make a rapid return to the dugout with York City, will always be fondly remembered at Glanford Park for leading United on an incredible 28-game unbeaten run, which shattered a 125-year Football League record.

League Two

League Two bravely contested with the Championship for the most casualties in October, but in the end lost out by just one. Still, four is still a sizeable number, which equates to a sixth of the teams in the league. Hartlepool's Colin Cooper got the ball rolling just four days into October after opting to hurl in the towel after his side sunk to the foot of the Football League.

Nine days later Nigel Worthington resigned from his post at York City following four consecutive defeats, which dropped the club down to 22nd. On the same day Rob Edwards was shown his marching orders by Tranmere Rovers after enduring a miserable start to life at the Merseyside club. The fourth and final departure was at high-flying Burton Albion, whose boss Gary Rowett leapt up a couple of divisions in order to take charge of Championship strugglers Birmingham City, with the 40-year-old inheriting a side who had just suffered a record 8-0 home loss to Bournemouth. Ouch.

With October setting such a high benchmark, will November be another chaotic month on the managerial-merry-go-round? Plenty of managers begin the month on the choppin block, including Paul Lambert at Aston Villa, Stuart Pearce at Nottingham Forest and Yeovil's Gary Johnson…
Jack Kitson
Massive Southampton fan, loving being back in the Premier League but cannot get enough football to feed my addiction.

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