10 of The Best Managerial Sackings
Leicester City sacking Claudio Ranieri split opinion as much as any decision in recent football memory. Was it the death of any remaining joy in the modern game or was it simply the right decision given recent results? Gary Lineker admitted shedding tears over the decision but he will have been delighted to see his beloved Foxes romp to a 3-1 win over Liverpool in the first game since Ranieri's departure. With Craig Shakespeare in temporary charge, Leicester looked like the team of old, the team which won the Premier League, the team which Ranieri had seemingly alienated since lifting the coveted trophy. Sometimes a change at the top is the best move for the club, however hard the decision is to make.
FREEbets.org.uk looks at 10 times sacking the manager has been exactly the right thing to do.
1. Martin O'Neill OUT Paolo Di Canio IN – Sunderland 2013
Replacing the experienced campaigner Martin O’Neill with the Italian firebrand Paolo Di Canio was a huge gamble by the Sunderland board, but it paid off. The Black Cats were sliding towards relegation in 2013 and in came Di Canio with seven games to go to save the day. Sunderland fans will never forget the 3-0 win at Newcastle which was followed by victory over Everton. A couple of draws and they were safe for another season, the roll of the dice was vindicated.
2. Nigel Adkins OUT Mauricio Pochettino IN – Southampton 2013
There was much outcry when Nigel Adkins was ousted as Saints boss in January 2013. After arriving from Scunthorpe in 2010, Adkins led Southampton to back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League. He wasn’t even doing that badly in the top flight but was fired with the Saints in 15th place, three points clear of relegation to be replaced by Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine didn’t seem to have great credentials and had no Premier League experience but he safely kept the club up and then equalled the club’s best finish in the division, ending 2013-14 in eighth.
3. Nigel Pearson OUT Claudio Ranieri IN – Leicester 2015
It should not be forgotten that Ranieri arrived at Leicester after something of a harsh decision doled out to his predecessor. Nigel Pearson had just produced one of the most memorable Premier League relegation escapes, only to be ditched over the summer. The Foxes went from bottom of the table at the start of April 2015 to win seven of their last nine games and, incredibly, finish 14th. However, despite the monumental achievement, his son James, also employed by the club, was involved in some unsavoury antics on a tour of Thailand and soon after, both Pearsons were gone. Harsh on Nigel? Perhaps. But one year on and Leicester were Premier League champions.
4. Ian Holloway OUT Tony Pulis IN - Crystal Palace 2013
Ian Holloway had taken Palace into the Premier League against the odds but his start to the season in 2012-13 was nothing short of disastrous. The Eagles lost seven of their opening eight games and Holloway was promptly out of a job. It looked like a hopeless situation for anyone coming in as Palace lost their next two matches following Ollie’s exit, but in rode Tony Pulis who has famously never been relegated. A stunning revival ensued and the Eagles finished 11th in the Premier League showing that getting rid of Holloway was exactly the right thing to do.
5. Niall Quinn OUT Roy Keane IN - Sunderland 2006
It is questionable whether you can actually sack yourself but that is near enough what Niall Quinn did at Sunderland in 2006. Quinn had taken on the joint roles of chairman and manager at the Stadium of Light and it was not going well. He lost the opening four games of the Championship season and decided it was time to give himself the bullet. In came Roy Keane with the side bottom of the table and it is fair to say he made a decent impact. The Black Cats soared up the league, putting together a 17-match unbeaten run from January 1st to April 21st and won promotion as champions. Niall certainly made the right choice to sack himself.
6. Lawrie Sanchez OUT Roy Hodgson IN - Fulham 2007
On Christmas Day 2007 Fulham had won just two Premier League games all season and looked in serious threat of relegation. Lawrie Sanchez was struggling badly and it looked like a change had to be made – he was fired after a home defeat to Newcastle on December 15th. His replacement was an unusual choice, a certain Roy Hodgson, who had not managed in England since a ropey spell at Blackburn a decade earlier. It didn’t start well for Roy as by April the Cottagers had picked up just two more victories. However, in their last five games they managed to win as many matches as they had in their previous 33 with those four victories keeping them up by goal difference – remarkable.
7. Gustavo Poyet OUT Dick Advocaat IN - Sunderland 2015
If this list is anything to go by, Sunderland need to give David Moyes the boot right now because sacking managers really works for them. Gus Poyet was ousted in March 2015 with the Mackems one point above the relegation zone, Dick Advocaat came in with nine games to save the season. Wins over Newcastle, Southampton and Everton helped them on the way to safety in a late resurgence which has become synonymous with the club in recent years.
8. Emerson Leao OUT Luiz Felipe Scolari IN - Brazil 2001
Not technically a sacking as Leao handed in his resignation in June 2001, but it was made very clear to him that if he didn’t then he would be fired with immediate effect. Brazil had just been humiliated at the Confederations Cup, where they won only one game, losing to Australia and France and drawing with Canada and Japan. Leao was also struggling in World Cup qualifying with the side fourth in the South American group with five games to go – only the top four qualifying automatically. Out went Leao and in came Luiz Felipe Scolari. Wins over Paraguay, Chile and Venezuela were enough to get Brazil to the World Cup in Japan and South Korea, one year on and they were lifting the golden trophy in Yokohama.
9. Ron Atkinson OUT Sir Alex Ferguson IN - Manchester United 1986
Big Ron had a pretty decent spell in charge at Old Trafford, lifting two FA Cups and one Charity Shield in his tenure from 1981-86. Things were starting to turn sour, though, and after a shocking start to the 1986-87 season which saw United in the bottom four in November, the decision to dump Atkinson was made. In came a man who had worked wonders at Aberdeen, winning three Scottish titles, four Scottish Cups and the Cup Winners Cup, amongst other things. A man now known as Sir Alex Ferguson. Booting Big Ron to bring in Fergie was a pretty decent move.
10. Bob Bradley OUT Paul Clement IN - Swansea City 2017
This story is not quite at an end but it looks like sacking Bob Bradley after just 11 games in charge of Swansea may have been a tremendous decision by the board. The American was having a shocker at the Liberty Stadium and after a battering at home to West Ham in December, he was relieved of his duties. Paul Clement has had a tremendous impact, picking up wins over Liverpool, Southampton and Leicester since his arrival in January. The Swans have gone from looking dead and buried to favourites to stay up and it looks like Bradley was sacked just in time..