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Managerial Merry-go-round Mistakes?

We are almost halfway through the season and already a quarter of managers who started the term in charge of Premier League clubs have been dismissed. Some might say the sackings were the correct decisions, others not, either way, the burning question is are the replacements the right choices? Firing a manager is all well and good, but unless the club improves on the previous coach or bring in a man suited to correct the team’s current situation, the words ‘unfair dismissal’ spring to mind…

West Ham – The Hammers season may not have started as planned, languishing towards the bottom of the league when big things were predicted for the team and their great Olympic stadium. But surely, despite Slavan Bilic having a nightmare start to the new term, he was still the right man for the job over David Moyes? Bilic may have lost Payet in the summer, but bringing Javier Hernandez back to the Premier League from Bayern Leverkusen was a coup and having guided the London side to 7th and 11th place finishes in his first two seasons in charge, it appeared West Ham had a great manager who could really take the team forward. We all know in today’s modern game, coaches are rarely given time to ‘turn it around’ but Hammer’s supporters must be disappointed with the sacking of a former player who knows and loves the club, and his replacement being David Moyes – who, ironically, is a manager who is renowned for needing ‘time’ to develop and bed in with a club. Everything about this appointment spells disaster. There is no ‘time’ for Moyes, he needs results and fast and judging by the way he has started in his new managerial position, it’s looking like his Sunderland rein all over again with a mixture of surprise wins, players lifted one game then not the next and dropped points. With his only success being Everton (I say success, but he never actually won anything with the Merseyside club, just made them a force to be reckoned with) and disasters ever since, who at West Ham thought he was the man over Bilic to turn their season around?

Everton – Millions spent in the summer and a top experienced manager in Koeman who appeared to be the man to take Everton forward and push for a top four place after two very good years at Southampton. A seventh place finish in his first season in charge and some excellent football to match, The Toffees were on the up with a coach seemingly of the standard now required and expected by the fans to take Everton to the next level. However, having bought young goalkeeper Pickford pre-season, along with Sigurosson and Rooney, the pressure was on for results, as we all know, it was a disastrous start to the season, the axe loomed for Koeman, big name managers were mooted to come in… and you end up with Sam Allardyce. I am not sure which is more of a let-down for each set of fans respectively – Big Sam or Moyes, either way, you can’t see Everton going places with Allardyce. His managerial career consists of keeping every team he coaches up by an odd point – it’s hardly riveting stuff when you were hoping to be pushing for a Champion’s League place this season. Relegation escapes are his speciality, and in Everton’s position you might say he is the man for the job, but the man to take them forward? With a two-and-a-half year deal signed it will be interesting to see if Big Sam can hit the big time with The Toffees.

West Bromwich – The Tony Pulis sacking is a difficult one to analyse and predict as to if it was the right or wrong decision. Pulis is a coach you can consider a ‘safe’ option, he’ll keep you in the league, maybe get mid-table, job done. However, perhaps it wasn’t to be this season…

Hovering just above the relegation zone and having not won a match since the second week of the season in August, West Brom had had enough. Not prepared to see if Pulis could turn the team’s fortunes around having the experience of two years at the club behind him and a proven track record, they sacked Pulis and brought in a man who hasn’t exactly faired any better than the sacked manager, if anything, his record is worse. Pardew has replaced Pulis, and quite frankly you wouldn’t expect The Baggies to move onto better things under this man. They may avoid relegation, climb the league to mid-table, sound familiar? It might have been easier to stick with Pulis…

Leicester City – Out of all the sackings and new appointments, surely The Foxes have made the correct choice. Craig Shakespear did well, but he was never going to reach the highs of their title winning season, or realistically get close. It always felt like he was a stop-gap until a manager that could take Leicester forward became available, and Claude Puel has to be that man. His dismissal from Southampton was a surprise after, in his only season in charge, he took the team to the 2016/17 League Cup final and 8th in the table. However, criticised for his tactics, he was fired. His strange sacking is Southampton’s loss and Leicester’s gain. Quietly moving up the table and seemingly back on track, this adept coach, who already has a French league title to his managerial honours list, has had a Premier League taster (and a good one at that, only the Southampton board would beg to differ) with The Saints, judging by this, he is ready and more than capable of achieving something special at Leicester. The best managerial appointment of the season so far.

Crystal Palace – Frank de Boer was clearly struggling with life in the Premier League, however, with only five games played under his rein, it was a little difficult to judge but it seemed Palace were not willing to take a chance on this up and coming talented manager any further, perhaps it was a job too soon for this Ajax hero. So with relegation a real possibility, an experienced intelligent manager who can handle the pressure of the Premier League was needed. Enter Roy Hodgson. Currently managing his 22nd club in an incredible 41 year coaching career, you would think he is the man for the job but having hopped from club to club, with varying degrees of success, Hodgson may have great managerial knowledge, but can he fathom a path out of the relegation zone with Palace? He has certainly got Palace playing better with more confidence, but as a hit or miss manager, The Eagles will he hoping he ‘hits’ the highs with the London club sooner rather than later.

The managerial-merry-go-round will continue to trundle on throughout the season, with little loyalty or time given to any coach (unless you are a certain London based Frenchman!). Once the results start to tumble or the slide down the table begins, the outlook is ominous for the man in charge but sacking and appointing is a difficult job. It will be interesting to see come May which clubs got it right and which got it so very wrong.

About Matt

Matt is the owner and chief-editor of the Footy Blog, one of the UK's leading football news blogs.

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