Championship managers and their road to likely failure

October 24, 2013 in Championship, Premier League by William Kent

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Ian Holloway – arguably the most entertaining character in English football - was axed from his managerial duties at Crystal Palace yesterday, sparking the idea that promoting a side from the Championship isn’t actually a positive move when regarding the manager’s future job prospects. It’s unlikely Holloway will ever get another job in the Premier League, unless he promotes yet another team up a division. He managed 14 wins from 46 games with Palace, only eight of which were Premier League games, so it was inevitable he was on his was out sooner rather than later.


Looking through the past few seasons and the promoted Championship sides, more managers have failed than succeeded. Nigel Adkins, promoted Southampton, is now back in the Championship. Neil Warnock promoted QPR, and whilst QPR have also been relegated, Warnock isn’t even employed after yet another departure from Leeds. Another failure, Brian McDermott, promoted Reading and was also then removed from a job. Furthermore, the new favourite to lose their position is Malky Mackay, another new Premier League manager. Sam Allardyce is on the bookies’ radars as well, rating him as the sixth favourite to get the sack, who also managed promotion with West Ham last year. There’s a clear pattern emerging in managers damaging their careers through Championship to Premier League promotion. They take their opportunity at one of the toughest jobs, primarily to stay up, and usually fail sooner or later, and the Premier League usually never sees them again.

Despite this large quantity of near and complete failures, there have been a few rare successes, such as Roberto Martinez at Everton and Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. Even Martinez looked like he was fighting a losing battle most of the time at Wigan; if it wasn’t for FA Cup success, I doubt he’d be where he is now. It’s high risk, but if achieved, there are huge rewards such as what Rodgers and Martinez currently have. This sort of situation separates the best from the rest. Successfully keeping up a promoted Championship side and building on that initial success will no doubt earn you credit and potentially the chance to step up, separating the good managers from the great ones. It’s certainly the harder way to the top, especially considering today’s ruthless trend of frequent managerial sacking. Being allowed time nowadays is rare.


So, what do managers do? Do they resign and leave with a reputable reputation still intact? Or do they pursue even greater glory, potentially earning a big job whilst risking damaging their future job prospects in the long term? It’s a tough one to call, dependant on different things such as the expectations from both the board and the fans, but most importantly, money has a role to play. Having no money available can almost excuse a manager’s failure to keep a Championship side up. On the other side of the coin, if Harry Redknapp brings QPR up this season, he’ll have money to spend along with big expectations for the next. If he messes up, will he ever get a big job again? I highly doubt it.

Managers make decisions, and on a personal level, they have to ask themselves whether the chance to reach a similar position to the one Brendan Rodgers sits in is worth the risk.