The managerial roundabout spins on at a breakneck pace.
Research by thesackrace.com has revealed that a staggering 52% of clubs in England changed its manager in 2012! In total, over the past twelve months, 48 of the 92 teams that make up the four English divisions found themselves searching for a new gaffer, either because they saw it necessary to swing the axe or found themselves looking for a new man to take charge after another club persuaded the previous boss leave.
In the top flight, nine teams have seen managerial changes since the start of the year, with Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers now on to their third managers within the space of twelve months! In January, QPR relieved Neil Warnock of his duties at Loftus Road with the club one place above the relegation zone. In came Mark Hughes to replace Warnock and by the conclusion of the season, the former Wales, Man City and Fulham boss had been unable to improve things, finishing 17th, avoiding the drop by one point.
A disastrous start to the season saw QPR go 12 games without a win, a run of form that brought an end to “Sparky’s” tenure at the West London club. Harry Redknapp, who himself account for one of the nine Premier League departures in 2012, is now in charge of The Hoops and assigned with the task of guiding the club to Premier League Survival once again.
Also in West London, Chelsea are hoping that Rafa Benitez can get the Blues season back on track after becoming the first reigning Champions League holders to fail to make it to the knock out stage of the next season’s competition; a situation they found themselves in courtesy of Roberto Di Matteo. On the day that Andre Villas-Boas was sacked in March, Chelsea were fifth in the league and on the verge of being dumped out of Europe following a 3-1 first leg defeat in the round of 16 against Napoli. The prospect of no Champions League football for owner, Roman Abramovich, was seemingly too much and he called time on the young Portuguese manager’s tenure at Stamford Bridge after just eight months in charge!
In came Di Matteo with little to lose. The Italian failed to revitalise the club’s league form, eventually finishing sixth, the lowest since Abramovich took charge of the club back in 2003. However, in the Champions League, the former Blues player was working his magic on the sidelines, overturning the two goal deficit to Napoli, winning 4-1, before going on to defeat Benfica and Barcelona to reach the final. The final league position meant that only victory over Bayern Munich would be enough to secure Champions League football for a ninth successive season and against the odds, Chelsea won the game on penalties, a result that ultimately forced Abramovich to hand Di Matteo a permanent deal, despite his less than convincing league record.
However, like Hughes, Di Matteo was shown the door after just 12 games after the side failed to progress to the last 16 of the Champions League. Rafa Benitez was immediately appointed as interim manager but the Chelsea faithful made it clear that they were not happy with the former Liverpool boss at the helm and it has to be thought that Chelsea will be searching for yet another boss at some stage in 2013!
Other Premier League causalities over the past year included Mick McCarthy, who was shown the door after six years in charge at Wolves in February and the Midlands club also axed his replacement, Terry Connor, in May after he failed to keep the side up.
At the end of the season, both Liverpool and Aston Villa parted company with Kenny Dalglish and Alex McLeish respectively. The resulting vacancies saw the managerial-merry-go-round go in to overdrive with both teams poaching the mangers of fellow Premier League clubs; Liverpool acquired the services of Brendan Rodgers from Swansea City whilst Villa turned to Paul Lambert of Norwich City, both of whom had to find replacements.
West Brom and Tottenham make up the collective of top flight clubs who have changes in the dugout in 2012. Harry Redknapp walked away after a four year stay at White Hart Lane at the end of the season whilst Roy Hodgson left The Hawthorns for the England job in May.
Whether 2013 will be as busy in the Premier League Sack Race remains to be seen but the growing trend seems to be that owners and chairman are more impatient that ever before as overinflated expectations lead to false ideas of what can realistically be achieved.
The next twelve months could well see time called on Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal and the rumours about Sir Alex Ferguson stepping down at Old Trafford if he secures another European crown don’t seem to be going away. As mentioned, Chelsea will no doubt make an obligatory change in 2013 and with Brian McDermott, Martin O’Neil and Nigel Adkins all rumoured to be on borrowed time, Reading, Sunderland and Southampton could all be in the market for a new manager any time soon.
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