Derby v Middlesbrough v Birmingham v Reading: Who Will Lose Their Manager Next?

Martin Jol’s departure from White Hart Lane didn’t come as a real shock. It was inevitable it was only a matter of time before the continuous run of defeats, increasing pressure form chairman Daniel Levy and even the sulking attitude of Dimitar Berbatov recently would bring the robust Dutchman down. His replacement, highly coveted Juande Ramos from Sevilla, steps in.

Spurs aren’t the only Premiership team however to lose their manager recently. Chelsea have parted ways with the ‘special one’ and Bolton finally sacked Little Sammy Lee. The latter manager’s new found role proved too big for him as couldn’t seem to bring out the best in his players or have them play with that same aggressive nature which we were so used to see from them under Big Sam Allardyce’s control. Lee’s successor is Gary Megson from Championship side Leicester City.

Mourinho’s exit left several of Chelsea’s players wondering where their future would lay without him, whom they considered to be one of the lads. Carvalho and Ferreira were both considering their options as they both played in the Champions League winning Porto side when Mourinho was in charge there. Malouda only signed for Chelsea this summer and did so apparently because he wanted to play for the special one so much, and Frank Lampard is still stalling negotiations on his pending contract. However no-body was as outspoken as star striker Didier Drogba who openly broke down in tears upon hearing the news and recently cited that something at Chelsea was “broken”.

All the hype and hysteria was quickly forgotten at the weekend though as Chelsea rampaged against Man City, the dark horses this season, running out 6-0 winners. The score line was one that Mourinho had never managed to achieve during his reign at the club, (in fact the side never managed a win by more than 4 goals whilst he was there). The defeat for Sven was the heaviest he’d ever suffered in his career. The man at the heart of the win was none other than the badge kissing Drogba, scoring two and setting up one.

With three changes happening in as many weeks in got me thinking, who’s next? With the new year quickly approaching and the half way mark to the season at that there are actually several managers who are hanging onto their jobs in the Premiership. Steve Bruce at newly promoted Birmingham has two factors against him: bad results and unconvinced potential new owners. Initially Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung stated that he wouldn’t be renewing Bruce’s contract should his planned takeover be successful however recent articles state that Yeung has now given his full backing to Bruce even suggesting that he would be supplying extra funds to bolster the current squad.

Middlesbrough are another side who have struggled so far this season, with little surprise really after losing deadly strike duo Mark Viduka and Yakubu in the summer, and replacing them with Arsenal and Spurs rejects Jérémie Aliadière and Mido who have failed so far to build a successful partnership. Gareth Southgate’s side have now had five consecutive defeats, the last unsurprisingly being 4-1 to Man Utd, although in the past they were renowned for being their bogey team. Despite Southgate being a former Boro player and skipper the odds aren’t in his favour, as were former player-turned-managers-turned-sackings Peter Reid at Man City (1990-93), Ossie Ardiles at Spurs (1994-95), Gianluca Vialli at Chelsea (2000-01) or Glenn Hoddle at Spurs (2003-04).

The favourite to be sacked next though is Billy Davies at Derby. It’s no surprise really for newly promoted teams to often struggle in the Premiership, as has found Billy “We’re getting better” Davies. The quote comes after his side’s dull draw with Fulham recently which he found to be encouraging, only for his team to suffer a 2-0 defeat at home to Everton a week later. With a disastrous -19 goal difference after 11 matches it’s no wonder Derby are rooted to the bottom of the table. In his ‘favour’, the only other Premiership manager to be dismissed mid-season with their team bottom of the league was Iain Dowie in November 2006 with Charlton.

An outside bet includes Steve Coppell of Reading who has been accused of suffering from “second season syndrome” after his clubs incredible run last season (in their first season at the top I might add) saw them almost gain European qualification finishing 8th just a point behind Bolton. The team in my opinion, are still missing Steve Sidwell — the spine of their squad last season.

If we look further a field onto the international scene, the Republic of Ireland have already sacked Steve Staunton and it might not be much longer before Steve Mclaren is also released. Especially if he fails to steer England into qualification for Euro 2008 after the final crucial qualifiers are played in November. The guessing game could go on for a long time on the odds on who’s sacked next but what I want to know is who will replace the manager’s coming in? Jose Mourinho for Leicester City? Sammy Lee for Sevilla perhaps?

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