Blackburn Rovers are on the lookout for what will be their seventh manager in less than seven-and-a-half years after parting company with Gary Bowyer on Tuesday.
After two spells as caretaker boss following the dismissals of Henning Berg and Michael Appleton – both of whom lasted less than ten weeks in charge – Bowyer was handed the position on a permanent basis two-and-a-half years ago.
A slow start to this season has seen the former Rotherham United full-back relieved of his duties, meaning he is remarkably the eighth manager to be sacked by a second-tier side since the opening weekend of the campaign – meaning a third of the division have pulled the trigger with just sixteen games played.
Kit Symons, Chris Powell and Chris Ramsey all lost their jobs at Fulham, Huddersfield Town and Queens Park Rangers respectively in the past week alone with Guy Luzon (Charlton Athletic), Uwe Rosler (Leeds United), Steve Evans (Rotherham United) and Marinus Dijkhuizen (Brentford) having also picked up their P45s.
With a new television deal in place for next season, meaning the rewards of being in the Premier League are far, far greater than ever before the pressures of being in charge are sky high though recent history tells us that on the whole, longer serving managers with experience of the division are the ones who tend to prosper.
Patience can persevere
So how long should a manager be given to get it right? One of, if not the most famous example of a leap of faith paying off comes thirty miles from Ewood Park, where a reluctance to dismiss one Alex Ferguson after a less than impressive first three-and-a-half years in charge, which included three bottom half finishes, resulted in no less than twenty-five major honours.
Another of the games greats, Brian Clough, took Nottingham Forest from mid-table in the second tier to two-time European Champions in less than five-and-a-half years.
Those glory days were no way near matched in Clough’s subsequent thirteen years in the City Ground dugout, though he remained at the club until his retirement and was applauded in his final game in charge, despite Forest’s relegation to from the Premier League.
It is a very different era we find ourselves in now. Managers can now bag a league and cup double and be out on their ear the within a year (see Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea) or even win the top prize in European football and be out of work six months later (see Roberto Di Matteo, again at Chelsea).
With the top clubs setting such a precedent what hope do those striving to be dining at the top table have? Not much if the last seven days in the Championship are anything to go by.
Of the sixteen managers who began the Championship season and remain in their position, ten of them have been in charge for less than two years while just three have managed over three years at the helm – and two of those, Steve Bruce and Sean Dyche were managing their sides in the Premier League just six months ago.
Once Arsene Wenger hangs up his famously difficult to fasten coat up, there is unlikely to ever be a football manager who can last two decades in charge of a league club in England and Paul Tisdale at Exeter City, who is nearing ten years in the hot-seat, may well be the last to hit one.
Twelve –month rolling contracts, like the one Gary Bowyer was handed when he was handed the Blackburn job, seem to be the way things are going and if that is the case we appear to be in an era where there are no second chances in professional football.
Should managers be given more time?