Nigel Pearson, David Moyes, Chris Hughton and Brendan Rodgers should all still be plying their trade in English football’s highest division
Yet where are they? Only one of those named is still in management, with the other three seemingly awaiting the summer and the merry-go-round of managerial departures and appointments.
When you look at the likes of Nigel Pearson, who may not strike you at first glance as a Premier League manager, his credentials are clear for all to see. Not only did he guide Leicester City to promotion, but he also kept them in the Premier League after all seemed lost.
The 52-year-old also put eight of Leicester’s first team squad together before he was axed last summers. Forget the ramblings about ostriches, the tussle with Crystal Palace’s McArthur, and the often brusque media manner, here is a manager that knows about football and has an eye for the right player.
Around the time of his sacking, he had the unsavoury matter of what his son got up to in Thailand, but that shouldn’t detract from Pearson himself. Leicester’s statement on the axing of Pearson was ambiguous to say the least, when they cited ‘fundamental differences in perspective exist between us.’ What does that mean?
The only problem here was that there was no apology from Pearson about his son’s wrong doings that is known about. Is this what this managerial void has been about? Will no-one give him a chance or is he waiting for the right club? Who knows. What we do know is simply that if you have a club that wants to stay in the Premier League or you are a Championship side with ambition, then Pearson is your man.
As for David Moyes, his failure at Manchester United and then Real Sociedad really shouldn’t put suitors off. Although Everton didn’t won anything under Moyes, they were always a decent cup side, hard to beat and generally in the top 10 in the Premier League.
However, sometimes failure can dog you and become an anchor in terms of career progression. The 52-year-old Scot was sacked by Real Sociedad under claims that he did not embrace the culture of San Sebastian and that he had failed to master the language. Moyes denied those claims and is philosophical about his time in Spain.
He said recently: “I took a risk. I could have taken other jobs in the Premier League after United but I chose not to. It was an ambition to work abroad – to network, to find out what was happening in other countries; the style.
“I have done that, even if I would have liked it to have lasted a little bit longer. I would hope my experience of working in La Liga would have actually enhanced my reputation.”
Well, there were a number of English clubs looking at David Moyes last summer; West Ham, Aston Villa and Sunderland among them. Newcastle have also been mentioned, but it sounds as though he would still be up for the challenge of another European adventure.
Chris Hughton, on the other hand, is a talented manager that appeared unlucky to lose his job at Newcastle. The 57-year-old guided Newcastle back into the top flight, but the club said it was looking for someone “with more managerial experience” when he was sacked.
They were 11th in the Premier League when he left and how they’d love to be in that position now. Everyone knew that the job at St James’ Park was a tough call. Parameters changed constantly and he wasn’t allowed to think for himself as several among the top brass interfered in the day to day running of the team. The way in which Hughton carried himself with integrity and decency says alot for the manager.
The players all came out and said what a fantastic man manager Hughton was, and he does appear to get the players playing for him. In April 2014, after a managerial stint at Birmingham, another sacking followed for Hughton at Norwich City, as they were just five points clear of relegation with four losses in their previous six games and a miserly record in front of goal. Now, however, he is attempting to guide Brighton to the promised land but as surprise early leaders, they have fallen away.
Brendan Rodgers left Liverpool in 2015 after being appointed in 2012. 31 players were brought in by the 43-year-old during his tenure at Anfield and criticism of his buys has followed him ever since. With hit signings like Joe Allen, Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Emre Can, there were others that just were well wide of the Liverpool mark.
Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini, Kolo Toure and Dejan Lovren are just a few, whilst the jury remains very much out for several others. The former Swansea City, Reading and Watford manager believes in his teams keeping possession of the ball and playing a flowing passing game. Defensively, he likes his team to put a lot of pressure on the opposing team, but it wasn’t enough.
The results were inconsistent after almost winning the title in the 2013-14 season, but the silverware didn’t come. Liverpool were dumped out of the Champions League, then the Europa League, lost to Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final and eventually finished 6th in 2014-15. Liverpool expect, and that’s the end of it.
Sadly for all concerned, Rodgers paid the price for poor results, as does every manager.
Despite their trials and tribulations, all four of these managers should be coaching teams in the top flight and the Premier League is all the poorer for their absence.