In findings that will strike fear into the hearts of Chris Hughton and Martin Jol, the final falls of autumn have been found to be particularly treacherous ground for Premier League managers to tread.
November in particular has paid witness to more managerial causalities than any other mid-season month.
Following Norwich City’s 7-0 submission to Manchester City at Eastlands last weekend, Hughton’s side slipped into the relegation zone and lie just four points above troubled Sunderland and Crystal Palace at the bottom.
Martin Jol’s start to the season at Fulham hasn’t been much better either, with a tally of just three league wins being confounded with a 4-3 away loss to Championship side Leicester City in the Capital One Cup.
In a study of managerial departures which spans across the entire Premier League era, research has found that thirty managers have departed in November: more than any other month barring those during the height of summer in the off-season.
Compared to twenty in December, sixteen in each of October and September and fifteen in both January and March; it is a month which poses a significant threat to top flight coaches as chairmen cave in to concern over the trajectory of their clubs’ seasons.
The departures in question include the sackings of Mark Hughes at Queens Park Rangers and Champions League winner Roberto Di Matteo at Stamford Bridge last year.
More worrying for Jol and Hughton – and possibly Cardiff City’s Malky Mackay following the controversial dismissal of his advisor Iain Moody – is that the managerial switches are unsurprisingly more likely to occur at the clubs languishing in the depths of the bottom half.
Following on from Hughes’ departure at Loftus Road twelve months ago, the statistics also include Steve Bruce’s acrimonious exit from Sunderland and Chris Hutchings paying the price for struggling to replicate Paul Jewell’s fine work at Wigan Athletic.
Go back even further and names such as Iain Dowie, leaving Charlton Athletic in 2006, and Jacques Santini, at Tottenham for just five months, appear alongside the current England manager Roy Hodgson who left Blackburn in 1998.
Jol, who benefited from Santini’s failure at White Hart Lane in 2004, takes his Fulham side to Liverpool this weekend while Norwich are given the more enviable task of welcoming West Ham United to Carrow Road.
With the autumn international break lying perilously on the horizon, it is set to give chairmen across the land precious time to evaluate their respective seasons so far. Results over the course of the coming days could have a big influence over the landscape of the Premier League come May.
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