Until now, the presence of tenured managers in the Premier League like Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger loomed large and were viewed as signs of success, stability and ultimately, pride. With Ferguson’s retirement, he has not only ended his 26 years in charge, but Moyes’ 11 years at Everton, making Wenger the longest serving manager in the Premier League by a mile. As a matter of fact, when looking at the Premier League’s competition, not one of the managers in La Liga has served at their club for longer than three years; most have been appointed within the past two years. The trend of ephemeral managers is not uncommon to the Premier League, but compared to their immediate rivals, the Premier League’s average tenure was almost three times that of the opposition and it is currently in steep decline.
In Italy, Napoli’s Mazzari was the longest serving manager, having been at the club for four years, but announced his departure after leading the club to second place. In the Bundesliga, a league whose governance and ownership structure has been admired around the world, we find that the 3 year curse is broken by a few managers. Less than a month ago, Werder Bremen let go of Thomas Schaaf, a club legend who not only signed up with the club as a teenager, but would spend his entire playing career with them, and go on to manage them for 14 years. Jurgen Klopp, among two other managers have been at their respective clubs for over 4 years now. Klopp’s track record with Dortmund is impressive, only matched by Ottmar Hitzfeld, which explains his lengthy tenure at the club. The other two candidates can be described as anomalies. One of the managers is Thomas Tuchel, having taken over one year after Klopp left Mainz and the other, Norber Meier, who this year was relegated with Fortuna Dusseldorf, the same team he has helped to promote from deepest pits of the 3rd Bundesliga, explaining why he was not sacked after getting relegated.
Before the last game of the season kicked-off, the average managerial tenure for the Premier League was at 1517 days, or approximately 4 years and 2 months. With the departures of Ferguson, Moyes, Pulis and Martinez from the managerial roster and including the two promoted managers of Cardiff City and Hull, the average tenure dropped to 792 days, which equates to roughly 2 years and 2 months. Disregarding Wenger’s time at Arsenal, which has become an outlier at this point, the average tenure of a Premier League manager is 415 days or roughly 1 year and 2 months. With four vacant managerial positions due to be filled, it will drag the average down. In this case, the median can be regarded as a more accurate indicator, which was at 355 days with the inclusion of Ferguson and company, and only dipped slightly to 349.5 days without including the newly departed long serving managers. This goes to show that the bulk of the managers in the Premier League have just about served one season at their respective clubs. These figures, as previously mentioned, are not an anomaly. When comparing this to the Serie A, the numbers are approximately the same. Among the 20 managers that finished the season with their clubs, the average was 480 days, with a median at 346 days. La Liga has fared better and looking at all current managers the average tenure is 488 days, with a median set at 509 days. Perhaps it is Spain’s financial crisis that has limited the club’s sacking practices, or this is a cyclical trend and a new wave of departing managers is about to be witnessed.