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October 2016
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Managerial farewells: what happens after clubs get rid of their manager. The 2015/16 review.


Please note we’ve change our approach to how we handle comments – details are at the end.

Managerial farewells by Tony Attwood

Pep Guardiola accuses dressing room mole of ‘damaging’ Bayern Munich

At least that had the merit of being a different type of complaint about a club from a leaving manager – but by and large most managers tend to say nothing nasty about their ex-employers, first because by saying nothing they hope to get a better settlement and second, the departure settlements tend to have a “no comment” clause within them, so we never learn the lurid details.

Sacking a manager before the end of his contract is invariably a breach of contract and something which could be settled in public in an Employment Tribunal in England.   This is what Dr Eva Carneiro is doing – although in her case the argument is one of constructive dismissal rather than actual dismissal.

So when clubs sack managers they tend to lose out – paying out far more in legal costs and ex-manager payments than the salary that would have been paid to keep the manager to the end of his contract.  Indeed pay outs to ex-managers can be incredibly expensive, and because of this are often hidden away in the company accounts of the clubs involved under “other expenditure” or “personnel”.

We all know that Tottenham have been the World Champions in Management Removal for around 20 years, and have had multiple attempts at putting a man in place who could give Tottenham even a look in at the top four.  Arry could do it, but was then sacked.  The present incumbent will probably be given longer but now has to cope with the finances of stadium rent and stadium building.

This season 52 managers have departed a club from within the four top divisions of football in England.   Here’s the breakdown from

Sacking club’s league  No of managers going
Premier League 7
Championship 15
League One 16
League Two 14

Dick Advocaat was the first out on 4 October with Sunderland in 19th.  Today they are 17th – only two places up but we must admit two very important places up.

Dick himself had actually come in, in March 2015 to save the club from relegation.

We next came to Brendan Rodgers of who was sacked on 4 October.  Liverpool!!! were 10th in the League.  Today they are 8th.  True they are in the Europa, but of course we can’t say whether this might have happened under Rodgers.   Rodgers main failing was a failure to beat Everton.

Liverpool’s finishes of 7, 6, 8, 7, 2, 6 suggests that they are now in their fairly normal position.

Tim Sherwood went away from the Villa on 25 October with Villa bottom.  They’ve had a second sacking since then and are still bottom.

Garry Monk of Swansea was sacked on 9 December after one win in 12 league and cup games – which was quite a turn around as the end of last season saw him lauded by all the press as the perfect example of the new manager that everyone (including Arsenal) ought to be looking at.  He had also taken Swansea to their best ever finish in the league.

Swansea were 15th when he left.  They are now 11th. So an improvement – but not quite so dramatic as perhaps was imagined.

Jose Mourinho went on 17 December with Chelsea 16th.  They are now 9th.  Although that too is quite an improvement, it is unusual for the champions to fall from being champions to being ninth.

Steve McClaren at Newcastle was sacked, 11th March with the club 19th.  They are now 18th.   And on 29 March Remi Garde left Villa with the club bottom.  They are still bottom.

Meanwhile in the Championship the situation is crazier still.  Last season 20 managers left their clubs.  This season is still insane – but we’ve only had 15 (although more may now go).   And here there is a perfect example of just how crazed the thinking in all this can be.

Derby County were fifth when Paul Clement was sacked on 8 February after eight months in charge.   The argument put forward was that the club had won nothing since 1975, when they were still able to call on the team and tactics that Brian Clough had introduced before his acrimonious departure.  They noted that they had only been in the top league for 11 seasons in 30, and should be playing “the Derby way” (whatever that is).

Three months on, having spent lots of money on getting rid of the manager, they have finished  fifth (exactly where they were before), 11 points off promotion compared to five points when Clement went.

Of course some clubs do go up when bringing in a new man:  Leeds, Bristol City, Rotherham and Brentford all did it. But Brentford only went up because the manager who had taken them to the play offs was sacked, and the new man took them to the bottom of the league.  He was sacked and went to Rangers in Glasgow, and they won the league and he was manager of the year.

So, does this mean that sacking the manager is always wrong?   No of course not.  Sometimes it makes sense – but only in a minority of cases.   Most of the time there needs to be far better recruitment in the first place, and then far better management overall.

But most of all there needs to be a far better analysis of the situation.

A note about comments.

Untold Arsenal is a web site set up by people who support the manager, the players and the club, for people with a similar outlook.  Over the 8 years we’ve been in operation we’ve had thousands of comments posted which are from people who don’t share our views, and as long as these comments were not abusive we’ve generally published them and answered them.  However despite our patience in answering such points with evidence we have some people sending in posts reiterating the same old issues while utterly ignoring the evidence based answers we have presented.  Reading the same stuff over and over again, without any attempt to carry the debate forwards based on evidence is making the commentary part of the site tedious, so we won’t be publishing any more of these.

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17 comments to Managerial farewells: what happens after clubs get rid of their manager. The 2015/16 review.

  • Kevin

    Pls kindly do an article on the EPL title won by The greatest manager of all time arsene wenger and his predecessor George graham. Also do a well researched article on the managerial changes done by the top clubs in Europe across a 6 years period and the out come. One Arsenal, One Gunners, One Manager arsene wenger, One glorious Fans

  • Polo

    Great article Tony. I believe clubs should only sack or change managers only if the target manager will improve the overall position of the club on and off the field.

  • Luvyourclub

    Sorry to be that guy but the guy at Brentford who was sacked when he got them to the playoffs went to Rangers not the guy who took them to the bottom.

  • The former has been done in great statistical detail on the Arsenal History Society blog, but I would need a volunteer to do the research for the second article.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Hmmm. With the evidence provided to backup the reason for publishing this article, it is pertinent to say those sackings is a food for thoughts.

    The underline truth this article is trying to point out is, the sacking of a football club manager does not guaranteed an improvement in the good fortune of the club on the field of play. And even when it does, the improvement in good fortune could be marginal in very exceptional cases. Or as the case maybe in most of the cases, it becomes from bad to worse.

    But despite the lack of guaranteeing success on the field, many clubs who are desprate or under some kind of pressures are still embarking on this gamble.

    In this trend of gamble, the Arsenal board have resisted to fall into the temptation of sacking their long term serving manager despite some incessant pressures by a section of the Arsenal supporters to do so, due to the failure of the manager to give them what they badly want.

  • Tom

    Rodger’s main failing was playing uninspiring football post the Suarez years. The club looked devoid of ideas and players looked confused as to their roles on the pitch.

    Also, Rodger’s record in Europe was abysmal 6 wins out of 18 competitive matches and he was dumped out of the competition twice at the round of 32. That’s the furthest he ever got in Europa. In CL, Rodgers didn’t make it out of the group stages, so suggesting that he might’ve got Liverpool to a European final this year, had he stayed on, is day dreaming.

    Whether Liverpool finish higher up the league table than normal, or beat Sevilla in the Europa league final is almost irrelevant in a discussion of Liverpool’s situation under Klop.
    In case you haven’t seen any of their games against B Dortmund or Villareal, just ask a Liverpool fan how they feel about their club now.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Nice read UA.
    The AAAA and Wobs who think they know more than Wenger can read above and see what managerial changes brought to the club.In 75 pct cases it has been a faliure.Consistency brings better results surely.
    People may argue that see Leicester change the manager and they won.But are they sure that the fairytale will continue? I can bet Leicester will finish below Arsenal next season.
    Even this year they won due to biased refreeing and the Pgmo gifted them as many as 10 to 15 points for sure.

  • Andy Mack

    Tom, The Liverpool!!! Supporters are pretty much always supportive of their new managers (except Hodgson) for the first six months or so.
    Personally I think PL-wise Klopp is a good manager and could become a great manager but it’s still rather early to know.

  • Sorry if this is of topic but can anyone explain why Dembele is the only Spurs player to be given a 6 match ban.
    I have watched this match 3 times and am amazed that with all the evidence right before them and reply after reply of the horrible tackles that were made that one player and one player only is getting a ban. I know that both teams are being brought to book after failing to control their players but how on earth can people say that this FA is not in the least bit bias is beyond me. We had points took of us and if it’s good enough for Arsenal then it should be good enough for which ever EPL team that is involved no matter who they are. I hope I have got this wrong.

  • Menace

    Andy Mack – exactly. Every time a manager leaves Liverpool proves the hypocracy of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

    Comeon Saints – give us a performance with or without the help of PGMO.

  • porter

    Agree with that Linda , when they took our two points they said it was because it set a bad example to the audience at home and abroad. Perhaps they think that the violence on show at Stamford Bridge was less shocking.

  • Top Guns

    Rosicky@arsenal – Leicester city are deserved winners of the PL this season. It sounds like sour grapes from you that you think it was due to biased refereeing. I am as disappointed as I am sure you are that Arsenal were not able to win but to speak of corruption seems slightly excessive.

    and so what if they finish below Arsenal next season?! They won it this season didn’t they!!

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Top gun
    If Leicester won fairly i would have no objection. But what i have seen i think they dont deserve the trophy.They have bern smartly helped by the refs and awarded points in numerous games and 0 points were converted into 3 points.

  • Top Guns

    Rosicky@arsenal I can’t be bothered to spend much time defending Leicester City who I do not paricularly like as a team. However I don’t see any evidence for your assertion. Furthermore don’t forget that we were rather lucky to beat them back in February.

  • Sammy The Snake

    I think you missed one managerial change for this year:

    Leicester had a new manager at the start of this year, and i think they did rather well… 🙂

  • Josif

    Step 1: take a look at the latest managerial changes in 20 Premier League clubs.

    Step 2: take a look at which position they had been prior to the change.

    Step 3: take a look at which position they are now.

    Step 4: draw conclusion.

    If you did it well, you will notice that in 17 out of 20 cases the managerial change has produced a short-term improvement in terms of a league position in the first season under a new manager. That’s 85 percent of success. What happens later (see Everton, Palace) is another story.

  • Pete

    Leicester fired their previous manager, Pearson, mainly because of off=field issues. So don’t think this was a change the owners particularly wanted to make. So not a great example of inspired Chairmanship.

    As we in general advocate patience (the theme of this article) I think it is too soon to judge Klopp at Liverpool. Next season will be more telling (good or bad).

    And there will certainly be more PL departures in the next few weeks. We know that Hiddink and Pellegrini are definitely going. And several more are hanging on by their fingertips.