Earliest sackings into a Premier League season - ranked

03 October 2021 09:30

We can now confirm that the 2021/22 Premier League season is truly underway - we've had our first managerial sacking!

Unsurprisingly, Watford were the first club to get itchy feet and sack their manager this year, despite the fact they've not started that badly.

But two wins in seven in a brand new, more difficult division and 14th place in the table is not enough for Hornets owner Gino Pozzo, who decided it was time to load up the Random Football Manager Generator after only seven games.

He's not the first to get the managerial equivalent of an early bath, though, and nor will he be the last.

So, let's have a look at the 20 managers who have been let go the fewest games into a new season.


20. Tim Sherwood - 10 games

Downcast | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Tim Sherwood treated us to some iconic Premier League moments during his time in Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa's dugout, but his career ultimately fell away.

He was sacked by Villa 10 games into the 2015/16 season, having failed to win in nine of those fixtures. Relegation form, and so it came to pass.


19. Ronald Koeman - 9 games

Sacked | AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Big things were expected of Ronald Koeman during his time at Everton, but it all fell apart in 2017. He spent a bucketload of cash, failed to make it all gel and left the Toffees in the relegation zone after nine matches.

That was the end of the road for Koeman, who can now be found managing *Checks notes* Barcelona?!


18. Peter Reid - 9 games

Pointing the way to the exit door | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Sunderland is not a place where you should be looking to put a deposit down on a house if you're a football manager - maybe look at renting a flat on a month to month basis.

Despite having been in charge for seven years, Peter Reid was binned only nine games into the 2002/03 season.


17. Dick Advocaat - 8 games

A popular man in Sunderland | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Sunderland needed help getting out of a relegation jam in 2015, sacking Gus Poyet and hiring Dick Advocaat. The Dutchman did the job, securing top flight status and recording an important win over Newcastle in the process.

He only lasted eight games of the next season, but he did what he could for the Black Cats.


16. Craig Shakespeare - 8 games

Not up to it | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The man who took over from everyone's favourite Italian grandad, Claudio Ranieri, didn't last too long in the hot seat. Craig Shakespeare kept Leicester City in the Premier League and enjoyed a fun Champions League run, but it all came to a head at the beginning of the following season.

He was sacked after only eight games of the 2017/18 season and Claude Puel was chosen as his replacement.


15. Brendan Rodgers - 8 games

So close to glory | OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Poor Brendan Rodgers. He had come within a whisker (and a slip) of winning the Premier League title with Liverpool in 2013/14, but those near-heroics were quickly forgotten on Merseyside.

After a slump the next season, Rodgers then managed eight games of the 2015/16 campaign and was fired after a draw against rivals Everton. Jurgen Klopp was chosen as his replacement and the rest is history.


14. Stuart Gray - 8 games

A ginormous jersey | Julian Herbert/Getty Images

A surprise appointment at the time - and it quickly showed. Stuart Gray collected six points from eight games, and that poor run saw his time as Southampton boss come to a very premature end in 2001.


13. Peter Taylor - 8 games

Five points from eight games | Michael Cooper/Getty Images

Making a good start is crucial to setting the tone for your Premier League season, so Leicester found themselves in a tricky position eight games into the 2001/02 campaign.

Peter Taylor's men had collected only five points from a possible 24, and the Foxes opted to pull the trigger.


12. Francesco Guidolin - 7 games

Seven and gone | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Swansea City were once part of the Premier League furniture, and in 2016, they were led by Italian boss Francesco Guidolin. He arrived in England at the start of the calendar year relatively unknown, but impressed during the final months of the 2015/16 season.

But only seven games into his second season at the club, Guidolin was let go - on his birthday, too. That's just cruel.


11. Xisco Munoz - 7 games

The most recent sacking | David Rogers/Getty Images

Xisco Munoz. The Watford coach took over in December 2020, got his club promoted, and now finds himself out of a job only a matter of months later.

The Hornets hadn't even made too bad a start to the new season, but the Watford owners have standards - standards which are seemingly unachievable for any coach in the world.


10. Jose Mourinho - 6 games

The Special One | Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Without doubt, one of the most shocking sackings in football. Early in his fourth season at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho lost his mojo and decided to go to war. He challenged owner Roman Abramovich to back him with signings, or sack him.

Abramovich chose the latter, and after two Premier League titles in the pirevious three years, the Special One was the Special Gone only six matches into the 2007/08 campaign.


9. Glenn Hoddle - 6 games

Sacked in 2003! You're getting sacked in 2003! | Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Not the last Tottenham Hotspur entry, that's for sure. The football landscape was very different in 2003, and the start to the 2003/04 season saw the north Londoners hit the panic button.

Six games into the new season, Spurs dropped into the bottom three after a 3-1 defeat to Southampton, and enough was enough for the board. The blame was laid upon the shoulders of Glenn Hoddle, and he was sent packing.


8. Paolo Di Canio - 5 games

A fiery spell in Sunderland | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Ah, how we miss the days when Sunderland were in the Premier League. Every season was filled with danger and relegation terror, but they almost always produced a glorious and miraculous escape - until they didn't, obviously.

Paolo Di Canio was tasked with inspiring one of the great escapes in 2013, and he did just that, keeping the Black Cats in the top flight with a memorable Tyne-Wear derby win.

But five games into 2013/14, he was gone. Football waits for no man.


7. Gianluca Vialli - 5 games

Player manager | Ben Radford/Getty Images

It was all smelling of roses for Gianluca Vialli and Chelsea at the start of the 2000/01 campaign, as they kicked it off with a trophy - the prestigious Charity Shield.

That's where the happy days ended however, as fall-outs with players, poor results and utter chaos saw Vialli get the chop, a handful of matches into the new season.


6. Howard Wilkinson - 5 games

A long reign with an abrupt ending | Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Leeds United went through a couple of decades of being an absolute basket case of a club, but Howard Wilkinson's sacking was a foreshadowing of what was to come in Yorkshire.

Wilkinson was in charge of the Whites for half a decade, but his reign came to an abrupt end in 1996, when he was sacked after only five matches.


5. Peter Reid - 4 games

Once Man City's manager | Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Manchester City have not always been the superstar-laden club they are now, and their situation was very different back in 1993.

Frustrated by neighbours Manchester United's good start to the season and with only one point in 12 of their own, the Citizens took their anger out on Reid, sacking their manager four games into the season.

Poor Peter, somehow ending up on this list twice. Just give him time!


4. Javi Gracia - 4 games

Another Pozzo victim | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Time to put some respect on Javi Gracia's name, because he's lasted the longest of any manager throughout the Pozzo era. However, having guided Watford to an FA Cup final in 2019, the coach was sacked a few months later - and only four games into the new season.

Watford then appointed Quique Sanchez Flores (who was sacked 10 games later) and ended the season relegated back to the Championship. Probably a rash call, this one.


3. Sir Bobby Robson - 4 games

A legend of the game | Stu Forster/Getty Images

It was the end of an era at St James' Park, as club legend Sir Bobby Robson was relieved of his duties in 2004, four matches into the new season.

It was a sad day for those at Newcastle United, waving goodbye to a coach who desperately wanted to return them to the top of English football. Those days now feel like a distant memory for the Magpies.


2. Frank de Boer - 4 games

"The worst manager in the history of the Premier League" | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Frank de Boer was hired by Crystal Palace on 26 June 2017. On 11 September 2017, Frank de Boer was sacked by Crystal Palace. Who better to sum up his time with the Eagles than Mr Mourinho?

"I read some quote from the worst manager in the history of the Premier League, Frank de Boer," Mourinho said.

"He was saying that it is not good for Marcus Rashford to have a coach like me, because the most important thing for me is to win.

"If he was coached by Frank, he would learn how to lose because he lost every game."


1. Christian Gross - 3 games

The shortest serving boss | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

What a weird time in Tottenham Hotspur's history this was. Despite boasting so little experience as a manager, Christian Gross was given the Spurs job.

He almost got them relegated in the 1997/98 campaign, but they just about stayed up. He was only given three games of the 1998/99 season however, before Spurs pulled the plug on this experiment. Madness.

Source: 90min