Firing Squad: Summer Sack Looms for Poyet, Sherwood and Others
It was a rough week for club football managers.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Sami Hyypia—sacked; Norwich City’s Chris Hughton—sacked; Catania’s Rolando Maran—sacked, again.
None of the three were trusted to see their sides through to a swiftly approaching finish line; none were given the chance for a summer reload with an eye to more halcyon days.
Once again, this week we’ll use this space to highlight other managers on the hot seat—particularly those who can expect some awkward boardroom conversations at season’s end.
They’ll likely survive until then, but after that? Who knows.
The next five slides will reveal those managers most in danger of facing a summer firing squad.
5. David Moyes, Manchester United
Manchester United’s 18-year run in the Champions League is almost certainly over.
The three-time European champions are presently seventh in the Premier League and seven points adrift of fourth-place Arsenal.
Manager David Moyes has earned some recent goodwill thanks to his side’s steely showing against powerhouse Bayern Munich, but the fact remains that he has been an unexpected disappointment at Old Trafford.
It would hardly be a surprise if the club’s owners decided to cut him loose next month.
4. Jose Anigo, Marseille
Unlike the top flights of England, Spain, Germany and Italy, France’s Ligue 1 has been rather gun-shy regarding its managers through much of this season.
Former Marseille boss Elie Baup was the last to face the firing squad, and that was back in September.
Jose Anigo replaced him on an interim basis, but he’ll end up having spent at least five months in the job before club chairman Vincent Labrune makes a decision about his future.
Marseille will almost certainly go in another direction ahead of next season.
Presently sixth in Ligue 1, they are seven points back of Saint-Etienne and the final Europa League berth with just six matches remaining.
3. Gus Poyet, Sunderland
Sunderland may have two games in hand on many of their relegation rivals, but un-played matches mean little if they can’t be turned into wins. And at the moment, the Black Cats look like anything other than a side capable of stringing a few victories together.
Going into Saturday’s Premier League match at home to Everton, Sunderland are without a win since February 1 and have lost their last three matches by a combined score of 9-3.
Manager Gus Poyet, hired in October as a replacement for the axed Paolo Di Canio, will likely face the sack as well if he can’t keep the side in the top tier for next season.
2. Walter Mazzarri, Inter Milan
Given their lack of European commitments this season, Inter Milan were expected to contend for a Champions League position in Serie A.
The arrival of former Napoli manager Walter Mazzarri only seemed to enhance their chances, but the bottom simply fell out from under the Nerazzurri after Christmas, and the 52-year-old has so far been unable to provide a solution.
Already, current Galatasaray and former Inter boss Roberto Mancini has been linked with a return to the San Siro, as per Ben Gladwell of ESPN FC, and if Mazzarri can’t at least provide Europa League football for next season, it looks as though he’ll be providing the vacancy.
1. Tim Sherwood, Tottenham Hotspur
Tim Sherwood will almost certainly be relieved of his duties as Tottenham Hotspur manager when the schedule comes to a close, and already The Telegraph has reported the Premier League side will target Southampton supremo Mauricio Pochettino and Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal as possible replacements.
Sherwood’s selection policy has been much-maligned this season, and his heart-on-your-sleeves approach quite often appears naive at the Premier League level.
But he did oversee Tottenham’s emphatic 5-1 win over Sunderland on Monday, and upcoming matches against West Bromwich Albion, Fulham and Stoke will give him further opportunity to improve his side’s position in the table.
With five matches remaining, Spurs are presently sixth—four points back of Everton and five adrift of Arsenal.