Premier League Sack Race: Does it really pay off?

He came, he saw, he conquered. And then he was sacked. Our beloved Slavisa Jokanovic became the first Premier League Manager of the season to be sacked last week with the Whites firmly rooted to the bottom of the Premier League with just 5 points after 12 games. This got me wondering about the fate of the Premier League Clubs in the last few years who were the first to pull the trigger. As we welcome Claudio Ranieri to the club, what does recent history say about his chances of keeping us up?


Manager: Juande Ramos
Club: Spurs
Month sacked: October
Club position at the time: 20th
Replaced by: Harry Redknapp
Final League position: 8th

Image: Who Ate All The Pies

With just 3 League wins since February, Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy took the decision to relieve the Spaniard of his duties and bring in Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp to turn the clubs fortunes around. He duly kept them up – and some, climbing from bottom to an 8th place finish.

Prior to his sacking, Alan Curbishley and Kevin Keegan both resigned from their positions at West Ham and Newcastle respectively a month earlier.

Verdict: Good move


Manager: Paul Hart
Club: Portsmouth
Month sacked: November
Club position at the time: 20th
Replaced by: Avram Grant
Final League position: 20th – RELEGATED

Image: BT

Taking just 7 points from his first 13 matches of the season, Hart was sacked and replaced by Avram Grant who was already at the club as Director of football. He was unable to turn the fortunes of the club around and they were relegated with just 19 points, some 16 points adrift of safety.

Verdict: Inconclusive. Off-field problems have caused the club to plummet since. The phrase ‘rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic’ springs to mind.


Manager: Chris Hughton
Club: Newcastle
Month sacked: December
Club position at the time: 11th
Replaced by: Alan Pardew
Final League position: 12th

Image: The Independent

Hughton was dismissed with the club in mid-table and cited wanting somebody with more experience to lead the team. Pardew came in and they subsequently finished a place below where they were when Hughton left.

Martin O’Neill resigned at Aston Villa a month prior to Hughton’s dismissal.

Verdict: Given the awful stick Pardew was given from Newcastle fans and the high esteem in which Hughton is regarded these days, this move seems like a waste of time with hindsight.


Manager: Steve Bruce
Club: Sunderland
Month sacked: November
Club position at the time: 16th
Replaced by: Martin O’Neill
Final League position: 13th

Image: Roker Report

Things seemed to be going well for our old mate Stevie Bruce until January 2011 when star striker Darren Bent was sold to Villa (it’s funny isn’t it because I couldn’t wait for Darren Bent to leave the club when he was at Fulham). With 10 new signings during the summer transfer window, The Black Cats were only able to notch 2 wins in the first 13 games and Martin O’Neill came in and steadied the ship.

Verdict: The parallels to Fulham’s current plight are obvious- lots of new players struggling to gel = disastrous start to the season. Ultimately, this proved to be a good decision on this occasion.


Manager: Roberto Di Matteo
Club: Chelsea
Month sacked: November
Club position at the time: 3rd
Replaced by: Rafa Benitez
Final League position: 6th

Image: SB Nation

They were 4 points behind Man City at the time of Di Matteo’s dismissal but a defeat to Juventus in the Champions League left Chelsea on the brink of an early exit just months after lifting the trophy for the first time.

Verdict: Who cares!


Manager: Paulo Di Canio
Club: Sunderland
Month sacked: September
Club position at the time: 20th
Replaced by: Gus Poyet
Final League position: 14th

Image: Mirror

He lasted just 13 matches in charge and his ambitious 4-2-4 formation saw the club pick up just one point from 5 matches. Following a training ground bust-up, the Italian lost his job after just 6 months in charge.

Verdict: The Club acted in the nick of time and saved their Premier League status.


Manager: Neil Warnock
Club: Crystal Palace
Month sacked: December
Club position at the time: 18th
Replaced by: Alan Pardew
Final League position: 10th

Image: Chronicle Live

Warnock took over in August after Tony Pullis sensationally left the club 48 hours before the first game of the season. But with just one win in 12 games, it was time to go for ‘Colin’.

Verdict: Excellent decision, the club were only heading one way under Warnock and it wasn’t the same way Pardew ultimately took them.


Manager: Brendan Rogers
Club: Liverpool
Month sacked: October
Club position at the time: 10th
Replaced by: Jurgen Klopp
Final League position: 8th

Image: Smeltzer on Sports

4 wins in 11 games in all competitions was enough to force the hand of the Liverpool board. Rogers had previously steered Liverpool to 2nd place in 13/14 but once Luis Suarez left for Barcelona, the side were never able to replicate the form of that season and it was all change on Merseyside.

Verdict: There may have only been a couple of League places in it that season, but Klopp remains at the club to this day and appears to be closer than ever to bringing to title to Anfield.


Manager: Francesco Guidolin
Club: Swansea City
Month sacked: October
Club position at the time: 17th
Replaced by: Bob Bradley
Final League position: 15th

Image: Twitter

Without a win in the League since the opening day of the season, the club had lost three matches on the spin and sat outside the relegation zone on goal difference. Bob Bradley was subsequently sacked 2 months later and incoming Paul Clement kept them up.

Verdict: The shambolic appointment of Bob Bradley was corrected quickly and the Swansea board got away with one here.


Manager: Frank De Boer
Club: Crystal Palace
Month sacked: September
Club position at time: 19th
Replaced by: Roy Hodgson
Final League position: 11th

Image: The Independent

4 League games in, 77 days in charge and several signings including the loan signing of Timothy Fosu-Mensah from Manchester United, De Boer was sacked with a record of 4 defeats in 4 games and 0 goals scored. It was very early days but things weren’t looking good at Selhurst Park. In came Roy and comfortable mid-table safety was secured by the end of the season.

Verdict: Obviously the correct decision!


Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic
Club: Fulham
Month sacked: November
Club position at the time: 20th
Replaced by: Claudio Ranieri
Final League position: TBC


Verdict: The wound of losing Slav is still very open and sore but Claudio Ranieri is making all the right noises so far. By all accounts, he turned up for his interview with a detailed dossier on each player and what he proposes to do to turn our fortunes around. In my view, he is probably one of the best available options to get us out of this mess at the moment.

To summarise, over the past 10 years, out of all the Premier League clubs who have been first to sack their Manager first, only one has been relegated- Portsmouth in 09/10 (it’s duly noted that not all clubs were in a relegation battle in the first place mind you). For those of you that remember those times, whether they had Sir Alex Ferguson or Micky Mouse in charge, it wouldn’t have made a great deal of difference to where that club was heading at the time. Their supporters most definitely didn’t deserve the way their club had been mismanaged off the pitch but as a footnote, having been down to the depths of League Two, they are currently top of League One so good for them.

November has been the most popular month for the first Premier League sacking of the season in the past 10 years with 4 Managers (including Slav) losing their job.

Claudio certainly has a job on his hands. But he has history in helping a team survive relegation. He took over as Parma Manager in February with just 15 games to turn the Clubs fortunes around. They had picked up just 15 points from 23 games prior to his arrival but took 17 points from 10 games and ended up 3 points clear of the drop zone at the end of the season. What we wouldn’t give for some of that form in the coming weeks!