This time last year, three managers had been sacked in the Football League. Two more followed on September 28. In all, 32 out of the 92 clubs in the Football League and Premier League had made a change by the end of December – most of them sacked.
Yesterday – September 26 – saw the first managerial departure of this season when Andy Hessenthaler left Leyton Orient. The Os are 14th in League Two, certainly worse off than they might have expected to be, and Francesco Becchetti is hardly immune to making the odd change or two – Hessenthaler was the fifth to leave Brisbane Road in just over two years – so perhaps it was always on the cards.
— Goodbrand Stats (@StatsChristian) September 26, 2016
But are there many other twitchy trigger fingers out there? This time around, I’m not so sure.
In the past, the loan window must have made a change of manager more appealing. The players not up to it? Well, change the manager, let him loan some in and see what he can do. That was certainly the case at Hessenthaler’s old club Gillingham in 2007, when Mark Stimson took over in November and promptly signed more than a handful of his former players on loan. They still went down, mind.
But this year, that’s not an option. Once the transfer window slammed shut, that was it. You have the players you’ve got and that’s that. The only out-of-work managers who can surely have any sort of chance are the type who will come in and reinvigorate what’s already there. And I’m guessing that most managers capable of that sort of turnaround are already gainfully employed somewhere.
So does that mean that instead of a third of clubs in the top four divisions changing manager by the time the new calendars are on the walls, we might see a bit more patience?
It might well make for a more interesting period with chairmen and boards who have backed their managers in the summer – which they had to do anyway to make sure they had a big enough squad to cope – are surely going to give them the time to turn it around with their own players.
Some – the LMA, I’m sure – have long said there is a need for a transfer window for managers, which is, frankly, absolute piffle. If the rot has set in, who wants to see it continue until a cut-off date determined elsewhere?
But in a time where managerial spells have become shorter than ever, the FIFA-enforced transfer window may just have forced a positive change.