So here we are again, the kick off of another Premier League season is fast approaching and the twenty clubs have begun their transfer dealings and have their players back in training. The countdown to a new season is a time for enthusiasm, expectation, optimism and excitement for everybody involved with a club from fans, to players to managers. However, it is the managers who must woke the fine line between success and failure for each and every club and it is the men in the hot seat who will be honing their strategies, selecting their squads, rehearsing their team talks and readying themselves for a pulsating roller-coaster of a ride over the next nine months. The question is however, who will last the course? With Premier League chairman not known for their loyalty and least of all patience, managers are under pressure to win from the first kick of the first game and the forthcoming 2008/2009 season will be no different, as the cut throat nature of football management intensifies.
This article considers which of the existing Premier League managers will have their heads on the chopping board from early August and which chairman will be the quickest to bring down the knife.
Gareth Southgate - Middlesbrough
Former player and England International, Southgate is an intelligent man, who knows football, but his team have flirted with the relegation for two seasons now and unless a rapid improvement is made and quickly, he could be under pressure early on in the season. However, Boro chairman, Steve Gibson is known to be patient with his managers and therefore Southgate may have a stay of execution until further in to the season.
Roy Hodgson - Fulham
Hailed a hero last season when he took the plaudits for keeping Fulham in the Premier League, but he knows it was by the skin of their teeth and needed a great deal of luck. It is impossible to se how Fulham can do better than last year with their meagre resources and mediocre squad. Hodgson through no fault of his own will get the blame as have predeceases Chris Coleman and Lawrie Sanchez but he may surprise a few critics.
Gary Megson - Bolton
Bolton was one of the first club's last year to shed their Manager, when they ruthlessly freed Sammy Lee of his duties at the Club, after a poor start. Megson was the surprise replacement and although Bolton stayed up, they were never very convincing and a bad start this year could see Megson go the same way.
Steve Bruce - Wigan
This may surprise some, but Bruce has never been one to stay at any one club for too long. He has already ‘jumped ship’ a few times after taking whoever he was managing at the time up the rung a few notches. He did this with Wigan last season, they improved out of all proportion and stayed up with a degree of comfort, but where do they go now. They are at the very best a mid-table team and this may not be good enough for Bruce and whislt he may not get the push by Dave Whelan, he may will be off at the first chance to a bigger club.
Paul Ince - Blackburn
Nothing worse than condemning a man before he has even started, however, Ince is making a massive step up with the Blackburn job and he has come into the position at a time when expectation is at it highest. Mark Hughes did a magnificent job at the Club and has set a standard that Ince must, at the very least, equal. This will be very difficult but the Blackburn squad should be good enough to win the necessary matches and the Blackburn board should be willing to give Ince time.
The Premier League is certainly a ruthless playground for the wealthy Chairman and whilst the ‘managerial merry-go-round’ may not kick in as soon as last season when the surprise separation of Chelsea and Jose Mourinho sent shock waves through the media and upset the football betting odds early in the season, it is guaranteed that at least one manager will be receiving his P45 sooner than he would like, the question remains who?
James Smith has worked in the sports industry for several years and has a wide range of experience in the field, ranging from sports marketing through to sports journalism. A regular writer of sports articles at http://www.betting-directory.com