Manager changes now averaging 70 per season - and they only last for about a year

19 March 2019

Paul Scholes
Photo: Getty Images Former Manchester United star Paul Scholes had been in charge at Boundary Park for just 31 days before leaving last week.

Moore and Scholes take managerial departures up to 36 already this season. Follows pattern from last year. Most are dismissals.

League Managers’ Association chief calls for a rethink on managerial recruitment.

With the resignation of Paul Scholes and the sacking of Darren Moore, the number of managerial changes this season is up to 36. figures show the staggering changes in charge of England’s 92 league clubs is now averaging close to 70 per season.

Scholes and Moore left their positions in charge at Oldham and West Bromwich Albion respectively and there was criticism for both. Former Manchester United star Scholes had been in charge at Boundary Park for just 31 days before leaving last week and Moore had taken West Brom, following last season’s relegation, into fourth place in the Championship.

The latest managerial changes are, however, part of a worrying trend in the English game, which Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the League Managers’ Association (LMA), has called the ‘hire and fire’ culture that is now symptomatic of the four divisions in England.

He has therefore called for a better approach to recruitment.

Scholes’ resignation at Oldham last week on 14th March saw him become the 36th manager to lose his post. That correlates with last season where the sacking of Southampton’s Mauricio Pellegrino on 12th March was the 37th change of the campaign.

Highest in last 13 seasons

Figures from the LMA reveal that there were 65 managerial movements during last season and 54 managers were sacked during the 2017/18 campaign. Worryingly for Premier League bosses, 75 per cent came at the top of the English game. It was the highest in the last 13 seasons.

Those top-flight managers who lost their posts last season had been in position for an average of just 1.16 years. That figure is longer than the average post held by Championship managers in the previous three seasons.

In 2014/15, managers had just 314 days to build a football club in the second tier of English football. In 2016/17 the average figure was still less than a year for those in the Championship, with 347 days to transform a football team.


LMA advocate for better processes

That year-on-year trend for the top four divisions in English football, a country that once prided itself on longevity for its managers, is becoming a concern.

“The game should look to more actively engage with majority shareholders, more regularly, and advocate for better processes with regards to the recruitment process of managers,” said Bevan.

“I do not believe there is an overnight solution to the hire-and-fire culture but there are a number of practical opportunities which can influence the key decision makers across the leagues.

“Greater research and best practice case studies are also more likely to engage decision makers and by explaining the benefits of longevity, we may see an increase in average tenures.”

I do not believe there is an overnight solution to the hire-and-fire culture

The LMA will continue to educate their members stepping into such a volatile industry.

“From the managers’ perspective, through continued training, education and mentoring, managers and coaches can be better placed to manage expectations and set achievable targets from the start of their tenure,” added Bevan.

“By being clearer of what is expected of them and what they require – time, players etc. – they can influence decision makers and buy the necessary time to prove themselves in the role.”

Arsene Wenger had been in charge of Arsenal for 21.61 years before his dismissal from his post at the Emirates Stadium on 5th May 2018. Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe became the longest-serving Premier League manager following the Frenchman’s departure.