4 Managers Who Have Taken Their Clubs as Far as They Can
As the dust begins to slowly settle on what has been a quite remarkable Premier League season, chairmen up and down the land will now be starting to assess their club’s campaigns with a view to possibly deciding that a managerial change is in order come the summer.
And of all the current crop of top-flight bosses, these four are the ones who should be nervously looking over their shoulders after taking their respective clubs as far as they can.
It all seems a very long time ago now that Pardew was basking in the afterglow of becoming the first, and so far only, English coach to have won both the Premier League and the League Managers Association Manager of the Year awards in the same season, on the back of which he was handed a new eight-year deal at St James’ Park.
But support for Pardew amongst the Magpies faithful is now virtually non-existent after a horrendous second half to the campaign which saw the north-east giants lose 15 of their 21 fixtures in all competitions, including a run at one point of four league games at home without even a goal to cheer.
In fact it seems clear to anyone looking at the situation with an objective eye that despite this week’s announcement to the contrary, the 52-year-old has now taken the Geordies as far as he can, especially with an experienced Premier League coach like David Moyes available and waiting in the wings.
Big Sam may be renowned for having a thick skin, although even the experienced coach appeared taken aback when the Hammers’ own fans booed their team off following a crucial 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Hull City at Upton Park back in March.
However, when your supporters start to turn on you as a manager, then the writing really is very much on the wall, which appears to be the case in the East End of London in what has always been a seemingly uncomfortable marriage between Allardyce and West Ham.
And in that kind of poisonous atmosphere, it really is difficult to see how the 59-year-old could possibly take the club any further next season while at the same time swimming against such a strong tide.
If Aston Villa’s 3-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates on the opening day of the campaign now seems a distant memory to their supporters, then their run all the way to the semi-finals of last season’s League Cup will have totally vanished from the memories of the club’s long-suffering fans.
Those were two rare bits of light at the end of the tunnel during what has been a tough two years in charge at Villa Park for the Scot, with both of Lambert’s seasons in the west Midlands so far being characterised by a fight to avoid the drop before an eventual 15th-place finish.
However, it has more been Lambert’s total unwillingness to even entertain the possibility of an FA Cup run, combined with the strugglers’ increasingly dire and lifeless displays in front of their own supporters, that have surely now spelt the end of the road for the 44-year-old as manager of Villa.
The experienced Frenchman is now the longest-serving manager in the Premier League, while he is also currently the most successful having guided the north Londoners to three titles in his 18 years in charge of the Gunners.
Meanwhile, having just qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the 17th campaign in a row, and with an FA Cup final to contest against Hull City on Saturday, spirits are seemingly high at the Emirates as Wenger prepares to finally sign his new two-year deal.
But as much Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho’s stinging barb in The Guardian earlier this year about Wenger being “a specialist in failure” was uncalled for, it also hurt because it touched a raw nerve.
And so if the Gunners really do wish to ever get their hands on the title again, then they should seriously consider a change of manager as Wenger has clearly now taken the club as far as he can.