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The Sack Race: Have Premier League clubs been fair to managers this season?

Saturday 18th March 2017
Usually, one of the jobs with the worst job security in the world is that of a Premier League manager, unless you're Arsene Wenger, though. This year, the number of Premier League managers being shown the door is rising by the day – this trend leads to the question cited on the title of this piece.

The start of any Premier League season always heralds new beginnings for clubs as well as for managers. Every team is usually full of confidence and the expectations sometimes hit the roof. But wait till the final weekend of August and a lot of feathers would already have been ruffled. By September we'll already be hearing of emergency board meetings, and latest by December we'll have our first managerial casualty as club chairmen and board members begin to panic and look over their shoulders. This has been the case since the start of the Premier League era, worse of which was in 1992.
The 2016-2017 season is one that started no differently from my above argument. In October 2016, Swansea had seen enough of Francesco Guidolin and they could no longer bear to watch their club slide down the Premier League table anymore. The Italian gaffer became the first casualty of the new season – the trend was set to continue.

A month passed without any firing, although there was some hiring as Swansea had to replace Francesco Guidolin which they did with Bob Bradley – the first American manager in the Premier League. In December, Alan Pardew was shown the door by Crystal Palace despite the assurances he got from the club Chairman - Steve Parish.

Closely following Pardew's sacking was that of Bob Bradley. The American was fired after 85 days in charge – Bradley became the second Premier League managerial casualty in December. In January, Mike Phelan was axed as Hull City manager. Phelan had spent a couple of months as interim manager and was coldly shown the door, less than three months after being confirmed on a permanent basis.

In February the biggest and probably the most talked about manager was fired! He's none other than Claudio Ranieri. We could all write a book about Ranieri from last season, but well, he too was fired, citing a woeful Premier League title defence.
This month is just halfway through and we've already seen another managerial casualty. This time, Middlesbrough decided enough was enough with Aitor Karanka and fired the manager who helped them gain promotion after seven seasons away from the top flight. Karanka's sacking brings the number of Premier League managers sacked this term to six!

In the past five Premier League seasons, at least 10 Premier League managers have lost their jobs in each campaign. Last season, a total of 11 managers were dismissed with the League Managers' Association putting the statistics an average of 2 years and seven days on the job for each of the sacked managers.

There've been a total of 44 managers sacked this season in the English football sack race – just 6 of them have been Premier League managers. The Championship and League One make up the other 38. Clearly,  the numbers from the lower leagues simply swallow that of the Premier League.

Were the sackings justified?

The six managers who have been sacked so far – Francesco Guidolin, Alan Pardew, Mike Phelan, Bob Bradley, Claudio Ranieri and Aitor Karanka were woeful for their clubs and were helplessly drifting their respective teams towards relegation – you can check their records and stats.

If the number of managerial casualties stays at just 6, or 7 when David Moyes eventually gets fired, then that's really fair, compared to what we've become accustomed to in the Premier League.

In my opinion, clubs have been fair to Premier League managers this season – they've used the hatchet more sparingly.
Kingsley Ukpai

Kingsley is a football aficionado who craves to read, watch, play and write about the greatest team sport ever known to man. If you're talking football he'll be keen to listen to what you have to say. Loves to play Fantasy Football too.

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