Despite the well-documented tension at Stamford Bridge and the countless speculation, no one actually expected Jose Mourinho to be the first managerial casualty in the Premier League. It just goes on to prove the unpredictable nature of football, although it’s probably just a symptom of rich owners getting itchy.
In light of Mourinho’s surprise exit, and with several teams showing early signs of struggling, here’s a look at the list of Premier League managers who may face the sack next. Pick your side, and let us know why in the comments.
Martin Jol (Tottenham Hotspurs)
The Tottenham-Sevilla-Ramos link was the killer blow to Martin Jol’s future at Tottenham and after the coup de grace delivered by Levy as they announced Tottenham’s ambitions for Champions League qualification (you don’t turn into a big club overnight – why is it that London clubs and football clubs with money everywhere must learn this lesson over and over again) as an ironic show of support for Martin Jol.
Tottenham’s results have been discouraging, to the say the least. 5 points out of a possible 21 and this after a spending spree in the summer that was ‘supposed’ to plug the holes in Tottenham but spectacularly failed to plug the biggest hole (in central midfield).
Instead of challenging for Europe, Spurs is currently battling for their lives in the relegation zone. The board have an excellent excuse to now sack Jol and be done with him (football is a cruel world – Jol has done well for Tottenham but now suffers from the ‘we want results yesterday’ syndrome that afflicts people with money) but they don’t have any replacements. A short-term replacement a la Avram Grant isn’t going to do them any good, so Tottenham and Jol are now playing a waiting game.
Sammy Lee (Bolton)
It was never going to be easy for anyone to succeed Big Sam at Bolton. Sammy Lee was aware of this and he has tried hard to fill in the gap but Sam’s departure also took away some of the ‘hope’ his years of hard work had instilled in the players and there are signs now that the Bolton players just aren’t responding to Sammy Lee as they would have in a similar situation to Big Sam.
A case can also be made that Allardyce left when he knew the club could not go any forward and what we’re seeing now is something that Allardyce feared when he left. However, second from bottom (and losing 5 out of 7 games) is unacceptable for Bolton especially based on their recent Premier League exploits.
Can the Bolton board and fans be patient enough to give Sammy Lee the opportunity to bring Bolton forward? I think Bolton know that they don’t have many other options (apart from Gary Speed) and I think they’ll give him this season at least, or at the very least till November to turn things around.
Lawrie Sanchez (Fulham)
Just one spot above the relegation zone, Lawrie Sanchez’s job at Fulham is also not so secure. After spending close to £22million in just 4 months, much was expected from the former Northern Ireland boss. It’s true that Fulham have had some key decisions go against them but overall they’ve fought hard without being able to turn their industry into meaningful results.
Fulham’s biggest problem has been in defence and while I see Sanchez being given this season to turn things around, a prolonged stay in the relegation zone could spell a premature end for the Fulham manager. One can only hope for Fulham’s sake that they have patience – Sanchez is not going to win trophies with Fulham yet but he needs the time and investment to turn this squad into a top-10 team and it’s going to take a few years, not a few months.
Avram Grant (Chelsea)
Avram Grant is the only manager on this list who wouldn’t be ‘sacked’ per se – he would simply be replaced and sent back to his post as Director of Football. The potential replacements for Jose Mourinho (no way are you going to convince me that Avram Grant is a long-term option as Chelsea manager, regardless of how good Wenger thinks he is) are either still booked, not exactly the ideal ‘flair football merchants’ Roman reportedly wants or may not return to Chelsea (do you see Gullit returning to this sort of environment when he cites being dumped by Chelsea as the hardest thing he had to go through in his life?).
Unless Roman Abramovich is considering appointing himself as Chelsea manager (the whole ‘he gave instructions to Essien’ tidbit is priceless – of course you should be playing it wide in front of a packed defence, but then any assistant coach could have told Essien that), we’ll have to wait and see who becomes ‘available’ for Chelsea. Grant lacks the proper coaching certification and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was replaced at Chelsea in under 12 weeks by a more long-term option.
Who do you think will be the next manager to be sacked? Jol, Lee, Sanchez, Grant or someone else? Let us know in the comments.
Special thanks to squaretan for the inspiration behind this article.