Why Do Football Managers Get Sacked

Why Do Football Managers Get Sacked? (Explained)

During the football season, you may hear of managers getting sacked along the way.

Why does this happen, and what happens when a manager gets sacked?

Here’s what you need to know:

Why do football managers get sacked?

Football managers, especially those at the highest level, are scrutinised relentlessly and their job seems to be under constant threat. Football is a game of fine margins, where a single moment can decide the outcome and a period of poor form can change the future path of a club.

If a manager does not meet the standards expected of him, he will be asked to leave the club.

Football is a sport where the high rewards of success are matched by equal perils.

It is well known in football that the manager tends to receive a disproportionate amount of praise and criticism for a team’s performance.

When things start to go wrong, clubs immediately start to point fingers at the manager.

The high demands placed on the manager by the club, the fans, and the nature of the sport lead to a career where job security is almost non-existent. Here are 6 reasons why managers may get the sack:

#1 Poor results

Football is especially harsh when it comes to judging a team’s performance versus their results due to the small margin of error. A single goal makes a huge difference and can often decide the match.

The team can perform well and can still end up losing due to missed opportunities or bad luck. A string of poor results (even if the performances were good) can see a team plummet down the table.

Once this happens, it will create serious concerns for the club and its supporters.

Many of the top clubs are run like businesses and owned by wealthy investors who want to see a return on their investment. Poor results (leading to a substandard table position) can have massive financial ramifications.

Unfortunately, football is a sport where the level of performance doesn’t always correlate to a team’s position in the table.

This can be extremely harsh on managers as a series of bad results will immediately put their job at risk.

A recent example is Frank Lampard’s managerial stint at Chelsea. Despite having a newly assembled squad and playing some great football, he had very little time to settle.

Ultimately, he was shown the door after some unfavourable results that did not reflect the performance and progress of his team.

#2 Failure to meet the club’s expectations

The manager gets appointed on the condition that they meet the board’s expectations. These expectations go beyond simply getting results. The manager is also expected to meet certain financial expectations that can restrict his ability to improve the club’s position.

This has become an increasingly important factor during the COVID pandemic which has placed great financial pressure on most clubs.

A manager is also in charge of keeping the players satisfied and ensuring that most of the players are on board with his managerial style.

The financial expectations placed on a manager, such as cutting the club’s wage bill, can cause discontent amongst players and can result in poor morale and performance.

Keeping a favourable public perception is also vital as the manager is in essence the representative and spokesman of the club’s hierarchy.

Therefore, the manager needs to conduct himself in a professional manner that is in accordance with the club’s morals and standards.

Managers are often victims of their own success. If they do a great job and exceed the club’s expectations, the bar for the following season is raised even higher. Often the level of expectation rises quicker than the capabilities of their team.

This is most commonly seen when managers help their side gain promotion only to get promptly fired when they fail to produce results against far superior opponents. Eventually, managers create a standard that they cannot live up to until they are inevitably shown the door.

#3 Losing support or control of players

A key aspect of a manager’s job is to keep his players satisfied and performing at their maximum potential. If you begin to lose the respect and obedience of the players in the dressing room, team performance and morale start to decline. It is vital to keep the team united and focused on a common goal.

Without any order or authority in the dressing room, the team becomes divided on their purpose and direction.

This leads to in-fighting, cliques between groups of players, and general discontent. This negativity seeps into the performances and can even result in a public outburst.

Once the media gets ahold of any rumours of a mutiny forming in the dressing room, it only adds fuel to the fire. If the manager loses the players and the atmosphere begins to sour, they will most likely be shown the door.

Jose Mourinho had a fractured relationship with some Real Madrid stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas that eventually lead to Mourinho’s demise.

Other examples of managers who were dismissed due to ideological differences with their players include:

  • Ruud Gullit at Newcastle
  • Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea

#4 Losing the support of the fans

Football fans can be extremely passionate and vocal. Football clubs rely on the revenue generated from their supporters and sponsors.

As such, fans can have a massive effect on not only the financial aspect but also the performance and morale of the team.

Although fans can’t directly make decisions for the club, they can certainly pressure the club into taking action.

If fans are unhappy with the club, they will voice their concerns through chants or demonstrations.

 This creates a toxic atmosphere which inevitably rubs off on the players leading to their morale plummeting. Ultimately, if the fans’ protests are loud enough, the club will have no choice but to give the manager the sack.

The loss of fan support played a major role in the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Nuno Espirito Santo.

#4 Fresh start

When things at the club are not going well, and the club is in a rut, everybody wants a change. Often the simplest option that will cause a significant impact is to get a new manager in.

This gives the fans and supporters the hope that comes with a new beginning.

There is a well-documented managerial ‘bounce’ when a new boss takes over.

Everyone wants them to succeed so the players and supporters are initially fully onboard. Players try to impress the new manager and have increased pressure to perform.

Firing a manager breathes new life into a club and that short bump can make a huge difference in a team’s season. That is why clubs that are in danger of relegation often fire managers as a last-ditch attempt to stay afloat.

Norwich, Newcastle, Watford, and a host of other clubs struggling to stay in their division have fired their managers in the hope that a quick change can provide immediate results.

#6 The club finds somebody ‘better’

Premium managers are hard to come by, and the biggest clubs want to snap up the best before their competitors swoop in. Having the right manager can make a massive difference. Sometimes it is the missing piece to the puzzle.

Plus, if the team has good players, then why aren’t they performing? One of the reasons could be that the manager isn’t doing a good job.

 A manager could be doing a decent job, but if a manager with a great reputation becomes available, it can be tough for the club to stick with their man.

A recent example of this is Antonio Conte. With Conte available and Spurs desperate to sign a premier manager, they offered him a staggering contract that has made him the third highest-paid manager in the world.

What happens when a football manager gets sacked?

Although the job security of a manager is low, they are able to negotiate the terms relevant to their termination with the club. After this termination, the manager is free to find a new job, unless there is a clause in their contract that states that they have to wait a specified period before joining another club.

Once sacked, the most in-demand managers will wait for a great opportunity to come around rather than simply jump at the first job offer that comes their way.

Choosing a job that they believe will be a good career move is vital as taking the wrong job, at an underperforming club, can have a damaging effect on their future career prospects.

Top managers have the option of taking a break from football after their termination due to the financial security provided by their recent contract. This allows them time to wait and ponder until the perfect opportunity comes about.

Do football managers get paid when sacked?

Due to the poor job security surrounding the position, managers want to be reassured that they will be financially looked after if things don’t work out. In most managerial contracts, there is a compensation package or payout to the manager upon their termination, provided that they did not breach the contract in any way.

This situation sometimes ends with a legal dispute between the club and the manager especially if the compensation in question is hefty. Both parties want to protect themselves should the manager get fired, so both parties will be prepared for any legal ramifications.

The largest severance payout in history was £26.2 million paid out by Chelsea to Antonio Conte in 2018.


Being a football manager is a really tough job. Since he has to juggle the expectations of many different stakeholders, it is no wonder why they are sacked rather often!

This may also be a reason why some managers may chew gum to reduce stress.


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