Fulham and West Brom proving hiring and firing doesn’t work?

With a few months still to go, the managerial merry-go-round in the Premier League has already produced eight changes so far this season.

With the financial rewards for playing in the top flight now more lucrative than ever, ┬ájob security for Premier League managers is almost non-existent as chairmen and owners look to any quick fix to maintain their club’s position amongst the riches of the division.

Irrespective of whether they succeed in the long term, it is an accepted notion that new managers traditionally rejuvenate a club’s fortunes in their first few months in charge.

However, so far this season, the “hire and fire” culture has not produced the immediate results that the chairmen and owners would have wanted.

Paolo Di Canio was the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season, having evidently lost control of the dressing room. Replaced by Gus Poyet, the Uruguayan has guided the club to the Capital One Cup Final and two derby victories over fierce rivals Newcastle United.

But even with the managerial change, the threat of relegation has not disappeared. Although they have games in hands on many of their rivals, the Wearsiders currently occupy 19th spot as the season draws ever closer to its conclusion.

Martin Jol was sacked by Fulham after only accumulating ten points from the first thirteen fixtures. Remarkably enough, his successor Rene Meulensteen has also been removed from the managerial hot seat after the change only brought about the club a further four victories from seventeen matches.

Felix Magath is the current incumbent at Craven Cottage but even he has so far struggled to rejuvenate the club’s fortunes, with a draw and two defeats coming in his first three games. Fulham chairman Shahid Khan’s desperation for a quick fix is evident but has failed to produce the desired effect with the Cottagers looking certainties for the drop.

Having led West Bromwich Albion to an impressive eighth place finish last season, many were surprised by Steve Clarke’s sacking. But only three victories in the club’s opening sixteen fixtures led the club’s board to make the change.

It is a decision that they are likely regretting now. Former Real Betis coach Pepe Mel is yet to win a match in seven attempts since taking charge of the Baggies. Level on points with eighteenth placed Cardiff City, the threat of relegation is very real at the Hawthorns and speculation has mounted that the club could soon look to make another managerial change in a desperate attempt to avert their decline.

Another sacking that surprised many was Swansea City’s decision to dispense of the services of Michael Laudrup. Having led the the club to Capital One Cup glory and the Europa League in the previous campaign, the legendary Dane was sacked after a run of just one win in ten.

Replaced by former player Garry Monk, the managerial novice won the all important derby fixture against Cardiff in his opening match. However, that is his only success to date and the Swans continue to look nervously over their shoulders as they sit just four points above the relegation zone.

At the other end of the table, Daniel Levy sacked Andre Vilas-Boas in December after Tottenham suffered 5-0 and 6-0 humblings at the hands of Liverpool and Manchester City. After a massive summer overhaul, Levy was evidently not impressed by the manager’s start of eight victories in the first sixteen and turned to Tim Sherwood to deliver the goal of Champions League football.

However, after an impressive start, Spurs’ challenge to the top four has faded away in recent weeks and Sherwood is beginning to show the strain after publicly criticising his players in the wake of the recent 4-0 defeat to Chelsea. The odds on the Englishman being in charge at White Hart Lane next season are not good, with Louis Van Gaal being openly touted as the man that will lead the club next season.

As these examples have demonstrated, the short term outlook of these particular Premier League chairmen and owners have so far not paid dividends for their clubs.

Football fans on Twitter and figures in the media have repeatedly expressed their dismay at the number of sackings this season. Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has even gone so far as to argue that a points deduction should be introduced to curb the escalating number of managerial changes.

Of course in most of the cases, if relegation is avoided at the end of the season then the respective chairman or owner will consider their actions justified. With the money on offer for simply retaining a spot in the country’s top division, there seems to be no real place for long-term planning at many of the clubs in the division.

However, if these sackings in the Premier League has shown us anything this season, perhaps it is time for these chairman and owners to resist the quick fixes and look to achieve success through managerial stability.


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