Who'd be a manager in the Championship?

With an average tenure of 16 months, life has never been tougher for coaches at clubs in the second-tier

A Championship club has yet to beat the record of Torquay United, who three years ago relieved Leroy Rosenior of his post within 10 minutes of introducing him as their new manager, but as another season begins this weekend the one certainty is that the first sacking will not be far around the corner.

Norwich City, who kick off the campaign at home to Watford tomorrow night, know all about making such painful decisions, having dismissed Bryan Gunn within a week of a humiliating 7-1 defeat at home to Colchester United on the opening day 12 months ago. It was not, incidentally, a decision they lived to regret as Gunn's successor, Paul Lambert, led the club to the League One title and an immediate return to the Championship.

Of this season's 24 Championship clubs, 14 have changed their managers in the past 12 months, including seven since the end of last season and 11 since the turn of the year. Statistically the Championship offers the least job security to a manager, with the average tenure lasting less than 16 months, which is eight months shorter than the figure across all four divisions.

Neil Warnock, who took over as Queen's Park Rangers manager in March, says the rapid turnover is down to impatience. "Everybody demands success and they want it instantly," he said last night. "If you don't get it, the managers are the first to take the blame, but it really isn't the way to go about building long-term success."

One of Warnock's predecessors at Loftus Road has just started his third job in 16 months. Paulo Sousa, appointed by QPR in November 2008, lasted less than five months. After a season at Swansea City he left last month to join Leicester City after Nigel Pearson upped sticks to Hull City. Sousa's replacement at Swansea, Brendan Rodgers, stayed only seven months and six months in his previous jobs at Watford and Reading respectively.

While managing can be stressful at any level, Championship clubs feel the financial pressures more than others. Warnock believes the demand for instant success – leading to the regular turnover of managers – is greatest in the Championship because clubs are chasing the Premier League's pots of gold. "That's the goal and some clubs are just desperate for it," he said.

To add to their pressures, the majority of clubs also have to compete against some rivals whose fall from the top flight is cushioned by parachute money. Although the current financial struggles of Portsmouth and Hull, who were both relegated from the Premier League in the summer, are a lesson to all, Burnley, having been careful not to overstretch themselves in theirone season among the elite, have been able to invest sensibly in their squad, having paid out some £4m in transfer fees to recruit quality players such as Ross Wallace, Chris Iwelumo, Dean Marney and Lee Grant.

Burnley's case, nevertheless, is hardly typical. Over the last six years Leeds United, Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Derby County have all suffered varying degrees of financial difficulty following relegation from the top flight.

The Premier League is the division with the most job security for managers, with incumbents lasting an average of three years and nine months. The country's longest-serving managers are Sir Alex Ferguson (24 seasons at Manchester United) and Arsène Wenger (14 seasons at Arsenal), followed by John Coleman (11 seasons at Accrington Stanley).

Mind you, Sir Alex has a long way to go before he beats the national record. Fred Everiss was appointed manager of West Bromwich Albion in 1902 and remained in charge for 46 seasons. As for Rosenior, his brief reign could be put down to bad timing. Within 10 minutes of being named in the post he took a call from Torquay's chairman, who said he had just sold the club to a group who wanted to reinstate Colin Lee.

Changing faces

The 14 Championship clubs to change manager in the last 12 months:

Norwich City: Paul Lambert (appointed August 2009)

Barnsley: Mark Robins (September 2009)

Middlesbrough: Gordon Strachan (October 2009)

Preston North End: Darren Ferguson (January 2010)

Burnley: Brian Laws (January 2010)

Reading: Brian McDermott (January 2010)

Queen's Park Rangers: Neil Warnock (March 2010)

Bristol City: Steve Coppell (April 2010)

Coventry City: Aidy Boothroyd (May 2010)

Crystal Palace: George Burley (June 2010)

Portsmouth: Steve Cotterill (June 2010)

Hull City: Nigel Pearson (June 2010)

Leicester City: Paulo Sousa (July 2010)

Swansea City: Brendan Rodgers (July 2010)

Stars of the Championship season ahead: Andrew Surman (Norwich City)

At 23 he is hardly a newcomer, but the new season offers the chance of a fresh start for Andrew Surman.

The midfielder, a former England Under-21 international, was a bright prospect when he emerged at Southampton but his move to Wolves last summer did not work out. The Johannesburg-born Surman started only five matches under Mick McCarthy and left two months ago to join Norwich City.

He came through the youth ranks at Southampton and, after loan spells at Walsall (where he scored on his League debut) and Bournemouth, he established himself as a Saints regular four seasons ago, featuring in 39 League matches and scoring five goals – three of them in one match, at home to Barnsley.

Having scored 18 goals in 146 appearances for the south coast club, Surman moved up into the Premier League, but struggled at Molineux. He has the chance to make amends at Carrow Road.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering