Hull City’s Phil Brown, Portsmouth’s Paul Hart and West Ham’s Gianfranco Zola are among the managers that are likely to be the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season. Liverpool’s Rafa Benitez, Birmingham City’s Alex McLeish and Bolton Wanderers’ Gary Megson and are also in the running as we are getting to that stage in the season where the sack race is beginning to hot up. As the pressure starts to build, certain managers could be just a couple of bad results away from the chop.
It has been a strange season thus far, as no Premier League managers have been sacked to date, with usually at least one sacking happening in the first couple of months. This may be partly due to the fact that Newcastle are no longer in the top division, as they are always a good bet to sack a manager prematurely. With the January transfer window not that far away who are the runners and riders in the Premier League Sack Race?
Hull City’s manager Phil Brown has seen his team continue their torrid run of form from the back end of last season after conducting one team talk on the pitch, and they currently hold one of the relegation places. Hull’s fans will be alarmed at the amount of goals that they have conceded this season, having shipped 22 goals earning them the worst goal difference in the league at minus 14. Having won just 3 times in 30 league games, surely the question is when will Brown be sacked not if?
No-one will envy the situation facing Portsmouth manager Paul Hart, who has the task of lifting the south coast club from the bottom of the table. The off the field problems have hardly helped his situation, as Hart had had to let go of key players over the summer and wasn’t able to replace them with similar quality. Having lost 8 of their 9 games this season, their squad desperately needs strengthening but will Hart still be in charge when that opportunity arises?
Talented young manager Gianfranco Zola has been unable to build on a good showing last season where he led West Ham to a mid-table finish. The club is desperately short of cash and Zola has been forced to field the young players that did well in their last campaign but are currently struggling. If they cannot afford to bring any experienced players in, could anyone do a better job than Zola?
This season has gone from bad to worse for Rafa Benitez, as Liverpool have already lost more games in the league this season that they did in the whole of last season. His transfer dealings over the summer have been questioned, as Aquilani, their replacement for Xabi Alonso, is still injured and Liverpool still rely too heavily on Gerrard and Torres. How long will Liverpool fans put up with the current situation? Would a negative result against Manchester United on Sunday all but seal his fate?
Elsewhere, at Birmingham City the arrival of new owner Carson Yeung may have increased the chances of Alex McLeish leaving the club. McLeish has been promised £40 million to spend in January, but will he even stay that long? While at Bolton Gary Megson has never been a fan’s favourite, and as he continues to struggle to win them over how secure is his future?
Surely we will not have to wait much longer to find out who the first Premier League manager to be sacked this season, but who will it be and will it be a surprise candidate?