The managerial sack race: Who will be the first to go?

It is an uncomfortable, often unsavoury truth about modern football that a manager’s job is rarely ever safe. If a team is languishing in the relegation zone, then the manager could go; if a team is falling off the pace at the top of the table, then the manager could go; if a team is not threatening relegation, but is also struggling to break into the top half of the table, then, in the modern world, the manager could go.

As the new Premier League season edges ever closer to its kick-off, there are already managers that might be sweating on their job security. The following are 6 Premiership bosses who could get the boot before Christmas:

1) Sam Allardyce

The West Ham manager has endured most of this summer with speculation surrounding his own position, despite his being given the vote of confidence by the board at the back end of the last campaign. The problem for Big Sam is that his style of play is not sitting well with the Upton Park faithful. The Hammers have been especially busy this summer to try and install an attacking edge to their approach, but there is a lot riding on their new signings. If the goals and good-looking football are lacking, then Allardyce could face a sacking.

2) Alan Pardew

Another who was in need of the sought-after vote of confidence from the board at the end of last season, Pardew must get Newcastle playing well or else he will be gone within a matter of weeks. The former West Ham manager does not help his case by getting involved in unsavoury incidents such as the David Meyler head-butt of last season. Pardew needs to keep his discipline, make sure his team keeps their discipline… And a run in a domestic cup would probably do him the world of good.

3) Paul Lambert

The Aston Villa man finds himself in the unfortunate situation where he must irk out a winning formula with very little tools or resources to help him do so. Lambert’s future is very dependent upon what happens to the Midlands club in general. Randy Lerner has put Villa up for sale, and the eventual new owners will decide the current manager’s fate. Until then, Lambert can only grind out some impressive performances and unexpected wins.

4) Ronald Koeman

It would have been a tough task to repeat last season’s heroics under normal circumstances, but as Koeman comes into a Southampton side that has been almost entirely obliterated during the transfer window, he is under massive pressure to rebuild it back up, and to deliver some form of success next year. The supporters will no doubt be happy with a similar finish, but if losses start to pile up then they could turn on the new-look dug-out. On the other hand, Koeman might be saved by the dissatisfaction of the terraces bypassing himself and heading straight for the board.

5) Harry Redknapp

He has Premier League experience to spare, but next year could be one of Harry Redknapp’s greatest managerial challenges. The Rangers boss is expecting to face a scrap to stay in the league, but he is also expected to achieve safety after all the games have been played. If Rangers get off to a bad start, then the club might be tempted to cut their losses and to cut Redknapp adrift. It isn’t a tactic that has proven particularly effective in the past, but it is one that is employed time and time again.

6) Manuel Pellegrini

Of all of the top Premier League managers, Pellegrini is perhaps the one who is most likely to face an early exit, although he is clearly more likely to retain his job throughout next season. The problem at City will become the matter of ‘progress’ and how it is defined. At the very least, the Sky Blues must repeat their successes of last year – and that will be an exceptionally difficult task. The Champion’s League is where Pellegrini will be made or broken, however, as the Etihad is beginning to get frustrated with its stuttering on Europe’s biggest stage. Failure in round one of the tournament might be experienced just before Christmas, and then Pellegrini’s job might look a little less sure.

Updated: July 30, 2014 — 11:30 am
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