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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea