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Feel Extra Sorry for EPL Managers This Season

It’s absolutely ridiculous that this much pressure is being placed on Premier League managers already so soon into the season. If this much talk about managers getting the sack so early in the season was in place during the past five to 10 years, then EPL managers such as Alex Ferguson and David Moyes would have gotten the heave-ho a long time ago.

Both Fergie and Moyes have gone through very rough patches with their respective teams teetering close to the relegation drop.

What’s important for soccer fans is to have patience but to also see that progress is being made. For Martin Jol, his side looked impressive during preseason (similar to last summer) but have whimpered to defeats against Sunderland and Everton.

A win by Spurs on Saturday against Derby at White Hart Lane (10am, Saturday, Setanta Sports) will deflect the media and fan pressure away from them and on to the next likely suspect.

Who’s the next lamb for the slaughter? West Ham’s Alan Curbishley, Bolton’s Sammy Lee, Middlesbrough’s Gareth Southgate or Birmingham’s Steve Bruce?

This season, more than any other, Premier League managers are under immense pressure to succeed due to the enormous amounts of money the clubs will receive at the end of the season from the TV networks.

As a result, more teams, managers, players and chairmen suffer from the fear. The fear of defeat. The fear of relegation. The fear of anger from fans. The fear of the nagging from the 24/7 media.

Part of the problem is that chairmen, board members, players and managers allow the pressure to get to them. The perfect example is Newcastle United. Their fans know that whenever they gather en masse at St. James’s Park and lead protests to throw the current United chairman out of office, that the chairman will back down and sack the manager. Chairmen and board members need to listen to the voice of their fans, but the executives sometimes need to have a backbone and stand up rather than make kneejerk reactions.

Can any of you blame Paul Jewell for his decision to resign from Wigan after the end of last season? He saw the writing was on the wall and that Wigan would be unable to replicate its success of its first season in the league. He bowed out at exactly the right moment. Whether he’s mad enough to become a Premier League manager again is doubtful. Maybe he’ll decide to go to the continent and manage a side like Chris Coleman did in Spain. If so, it’s probably the smartest move he could make right now.

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  1. Simon Burke

    August 19, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Tell that to Sammy Lee as when Anelka bolts this week he will have little chance of turning them round.. I had Southgate dowon for first sacking but Boros cheap win this weekend means he will probably escape going first.
    Jol if he loses to Man U next week is in serious trouble – if he wins he should be alright..

  2. Zizou06

    August 19, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Agree exactly with what Kartik said.

    One manager that isn’t worried about being sacked is Sven. He has brought his Scandinavian-Mainland Europe style tactics to City. And look what it has done. In today’s game, their goal was scored on the counter attack. This counter attack is something that these teams managed by English managers really don’t know how to defend.

    Sven has been able to do in City what he wasn’t allowed to do for the National Team, which is play his style of play. So far, that style has lead to nine points and no goals allowed.

    Still, maybe these threats to sack managers are just motivation. Maybe they are threatening to sack their managers so that they aren’t afraid to dip into the transfer market or to just plain play better. It is odd that these threats come up. But I have a feeling if some of these teams sign some quality players before the transfer deadline, the talk of sacking those team managers will be gone.

    In a few weeks, lets see where these threats might go. As for right now, I think they are hollow threats.

  3. Kartik

    August 17, 2007 at 9:01 am

    Chris Coleman could be a break through for British managers. (He is Welsh). British and particularly English managers aren’t well thought of at all in continental football, and are in some ways viewed with contempt……the same contempt ironically that British pundits reserve for American “soccer” it seems. Coleman and potentially Jewell could help change that and do something that I feel still has to be done, which would be to integrate England into a more continental style of football. Besides the faults of the English FA, England’s National Team will never rival that of Italy or Germany on the world stage (even if England wins meaningless friendlies against these two nations) until English teaching methods and tactics are refined and fine tuned to match the latest innovations and styles in World Football.

  4. tyduffy

    August 17, 2007 at 12:24 am

    I see your point. But they are reimbursed rather well for their trouble, and when they get fired they get a huge severance package, so I don’t really much sympathy.

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