EFL Championship manager sackings: Ten down, how many to go?

 | December 11 | 

4 mins read

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With Alex Neil’s departure from Stoke City following the weekend defeat, 10 Championship managers have now departed this season. In fact, 42% of second-tier teams have now changed their gaffer, and we are just 43% of the way through the season. 

It’s a trend that has seen the expected strugglers press the panic button, with Sheffield Wednesday, QPR, Rotherham United and Huddersfield Town - the bottom four - all changing managers already this term. They are all still in danger, but the Owls and the R’s have both given themselves a shot in the arm and a slight glimmer of hope in their survival campaigns. 

However, this season we’ve also seen the strange phenomenon of well-performing sides sacking their bosses. Birmingham City were sixth when their American owners decided to part company with the popular John Eustace and replace him with Wayne Rooney. That’s gone well. He may have a higher international profile, but in terms of results, things have gone sour at St Andrew's. 

Birmingham have won just one of their nine matches under the England icon, and that was at home against struggling Sheffield Wednesday. Rooney was brought in to play high-pressing attacking football and to help the Blues dominate possession, but on Friday night they had to resort to playing long balls to 34-year-old Lukas Jutkiewicz. It’s gone badly, badly wrong for Birmingham, who now sit 17th, just six points above the relegation zone. 

If things continue, they may be forced to realise the error of their ways and abandon Project Rooney. However, they aren’t the only ones who have pulled the trigger from a position of relative comfort. Sunderland reached the play-off semi-finals last season under Tony Mowbray, despite having a young squad and no recognised number nine. This season they picked up where they left off, and are now into the top six, but Mowbray was disposed with after a draw with Millwall. 

It was a decision that was deemed harsh by almost the entire Football League. Even some Sunderland fans weren’t happy with the cut-throat call. However, owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has big ambitions and wants to reach the Premier League this season. As a result, he wants a young manager to match his own ambitions, and drag the Black Cats into the top flight. 

Championship relegation tips:

  • Birmingham City to be relegated @ 13/2

However, it’s easier said than done. Managers these days are disposable commodities, that we know. But it feels like in this Championship season, we are seeing them discarded without even a smidgen of underperformance. Birmingham are the warning sign for other clubs in the league willing to take a risk, while Sunderland’s risky plan could also backfire. 

Only Norwich City, Coventry City and Plymouth Argyle of teams in the bottom half of the table have the same manager in charge as they did at the start of the season. Speaking of the Sky Blues, Mark Robins is due to celebrate seven years in charge in March 2024, and he is by far and away the longest-serving manager in the division. However, below him, there is a serious lack of loyalty. 

Steven Schumacher and Ryan Lowe are the next best we have to offer, with the duo joining their current clubs, Plymouth Argyle and Preston North End respectively, just over two years ago. Two years in the dugout is a small snapshot in terms of management, and the minimum amount of time any new boss should be given to shape a squad and implement his ideas. 

Yet right now in the second tier, managers simply don’t get two years in charge. Kieran McKenna will hit that milestone on Saturday with Ipswich Town, but both him and Schumacher have had to get promoted from League One to keep hold of their jobs. Jon Dahl Tomasson is the fifth longest-serving boss at this level, and he won’t hit two years in charge until June. 

It’s just the way the modern game is going, but something needs to change. Perhaps only a shock relegation for Birmingham City will encourage second-tier clubs to show more loyalty, and respect, to the managers they currently employ. 

Check out our other Football Betting Tips here. 

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