Have Premier League owners started a new trend in sticking by their managers…
So we’ve reached December, and still, no Premier League manager has been sacked – can you believe it? Last season, the three relegated teams – Norwich City, Cardiff City and Fulham – had seven managers between them, and yet this year, the owners have held fire. So what’s changed?
Already this year, we’ve had fans calling for the departures of Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Harry Redknapp and Alan Pardew, but still the only managerial change in the division has been the arrival of Neil Warnock at Crystal Palace, shortly before the Selhurst Park side began their fixture list.
The latter is the prime example of a notable shift in stance from Premier League owners. Newcastle United were bottom of the table in late September, and remained in the relegation zone until late October. Fast forward to December, and they have lost just two in ten, and sit comfortably in the top half.
Towards the end of last season, West Ham fans could not wait to see the back of Sam Allardyce, whose team had been forced to scrap for their Premier League survival. This season, they sit fifth in the table, a point off the Champions League places, and are impressing everyone with their performances and style of play.
The promoted teams – Leicester City, Queens Park Rangers and Burnley – have been realistic about the difficulties of stepping up to Premier League level, and the latter have been rewarded with something of a revival in recent weeks.
Compare the approach of these five teams with the trigger-happy approach taken by some of last season’s struggler’s. Sometimes a team needs to change manager, and change approach, but switching managers mid-season is only ever a short-term solution.
Liverpool would in particular do well to learn these lessons from their domestic rivals. Brendan Rodgers helped lead them to their most successful league season in two decades, as well as securing their long-awaited return to Champions League football.
Plenty of critics have debated whether his poor start to the season, combined with his questionable buys in the summer transfer window, put his position in jeopardy. The answer? Of course they do, but you get nowhere in this game from making knee-jerk decisions.
The Reds would do far better to stick by Rodgers – who has surely earned a degree of leniency following last season’s success – and review the situation again come the end of the season, where a realistic replacement could be chosen.
In turn, the replacement has a summer transfer window to freshen his squad, and a pre-season campaign to evaluate his playing staff without the pressure of competitive match days.
Inevitably, Tony Pulis will attempt to rectify somebody’s season come the closing months of the campaign, but it is pleasing from a neutral perspective that Premier League owners seem intent on bucking the trend of sacking their manager after a handful of bad results. Long may it continue.
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