Hell hath no fury like a Sky pundit when a foreign manager gets a job in the Premier League. What does he know about English football? Surely the ex-footballer with zero experience of managing in the Premier League deserved a shout. You could almost can the reactions of some in the media and wheel them out like the primary school TV any time they’re needed.
Marco Silva was the latest recipient of the borderline-racist, certainly xenophobic attitude of the merry band of ex-professionals as he was named the new Hull manager. Never mind his burgeoning reputation in both his native Portugal and further afield in Europe. He doesn’t deserve this job.
But do xenophobes occasionally hit the nail on the head? Let’s investigate, by looking at managerial changes for relegation-zone teams over the last five years.
Starting in 2011/12, Wolves sack Mick McCarthy in 18th, and appoint relatively young, English, knows-the-club-inside-out Terry Connor. Connor gained four points from 39, and Wolves finished bottom on just 25 points. Hmm!
Fast forward to 2012/13, and Mark Hughes loses his job in November, with QPR bottom. In comes Premier League guru and Englishman Harry Redknapp. They finish bottom. Four months later, 19th placed Reading chuck Brian McDermott, replace him with Nigel Adkins and finish.. 19th. Ah.
Our first foreign replacement comes in the form of one Gustavo Poyet. Bottom in September, Poyet ignites Sunderland’s end of season form to finish 15th. That there is a successful rescue. Let’s call that 1-0 to the foreigners. Crystal Palace fall out with Holloway while in 19th and turn to possible the only managerial de-relegation banker – Tony Pulis. He pulls them up to 12th come the end of the season. 1-1 people, 1-1.
This was certainly a busy old season for managerial sackings, with Fulham going for three managers in the space of 9 months. Two Dutchmen and a German try to pull something out of the bag, but nothing happens. They go down easily. Now, a special mention here for Neil Adams, another knows-the-club-inside-out boy, who took over Norwich in 17th and got them relegated in the space of a month. Strong work.
2013/14 was another busy one, so we’ll whip through it:
Warnock out, Pardew in for Crystal Palace. Survival, by a long way. Well done, Alan.
Redknapp out, Young English Manager Chris Ramsey in for QPR. Rock Bottom
Aston Villa ditch Paul Lambert because, well, he was Paul Lambert. Tim Sherwood gets them to put in a good old English shift and they stay up, just.
So, after that season, we’ve seen three successful British managers, and one lucky little foreigner.
Finally, last season. Dick Advocaat resigns, rather than being sacked, so technically he doesn’t count. But Sam Allardyce keeps Sunderland up, having taken over in 19th in October. Credit where credit’s due.
Tim Sherwood’s managerial reign inexplicably runs out of steam, and Aston Villa produce what looks like a shrewd little managerial appointment. Remi Garde comes in and can’t get anything out of Villa, who frankly looked doomed from day one.
Francesco Guidolin’s Swansea were 18th on the day he took over, and he oversaw a late-season revival to finish 12th. Count that one for Johnny Foreigner. 3-2.
Our last stop on this tour of misery and despair takes a visit to Newcastle. After Shteve McClaren was unable to produce anything of note in his spell in charge, 19th placed United turn to experienced Rafa Benitez. Unfortunately, he can’t save them, and they go down with one game remaining.
So, let’s take a look.
British managers given a chance: Nine. // Successful Survivals: Four
Foreign Managers: Six // Successful Survivals: Two.
Scientific calculations show that you have a 44% chance of surviving with a British manager, compared to 33% if you go for a foreign man. Maybe Merson and Co. are onto something…
Nah, probably not.