League Insider - Sack race
Rob Parrish calls for boardroom patience as Aidy Boothroyd becomes the latest boss to get the boot.
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp
Last Updated: 21/03/11 11:06am
Coventry's decision to axe Aidy Boothroyd made him the 29th manager to leave his post in the Football League this season.
It is a staggering statistic which shows just how volatile and pressurised life has become for the men who are entrusted with leading the 72 teams in the Championship, League One and League Two.
Should another seven be shown the door between now and the end of the season - a not improbable figure - then there will have been a turnover of 50 per cent throughout the campaign.
Can you imagine any other industry where the chances of seeing through a single year of your career were no better than 50-50? The League Managers' Association (LMA) practically only need to change the name of the exited party when they send out their statement detailing their disappointment at the latest departure, such is the frequency.
The statistics are, of course, skewed a little as many vacancies which emerge in the Football League are filled by a rival manager, thereby generating another as the insular merry-go-round spins on and on.
But figures from the LMA at the end of last season revealed that the career-expectancy of those in the hot-seat had slipped to an all-time low of 1.4 years. And any budding managers out there tempted by the increasingly cut-throat world should be aware that half of first-time managers given the boot do not receive a second chance.
A recently compiled Sky Sports Top 10 of the longest serving managers in England found that four who made the list had only been at the helm since June 2006 or later. Which, while not to disrespect the efforts of Tony Pulis, Paul Tisdale, Mick McCarthy and Sean O'Driscoll, points to an overall lack of longevity in the game.
Boothroyd's example is just one of many. Appointed at the end of last season to replace Chris Coleman, a bright start has been long since forgotten with a recent slump in form taking the club to the fringes of the relegation zone.
But given that the former Watford boss inherited a side who had finished 17th and 19th in the previous two seasons, what was Boothroyd expected to achieve? Yes, a run of one win in 16 is dismal, but such a response could result in further damage.
It is also worth noting that the five clubs who are below the Sky Blues in the Championship table now all have a different manager at the helm than at the start of the season, with Sheffield United onto their third boss this season.
Preston, in particular, could be left to rue their managerial upheaval, given that Phil Brown is yet to taste victory after 11 league games at the helm and has taken his new team to the very brink of relegation. If the former Hull City boss gets out of this one, I'll join him on the pitch at Deepdale for a karaoke duet of his choosing.
It could be argued that North End's problems began when they made the surprise decision to ditch Alan Irvine in December 2009 and bring in Darren Ferguson. The latter is now back at Peterborough and has them firmly on course for promotion, while Irvine got the bullet at Hillsborough in favour of Gary Megson, who appears to be guiding the Owls steadily closer to the drop zone.
Elsewhere in League One, Charlton's new owners made the snap decision to axe Phil Parkinson in January with the club fifth in the table and three points off the automatic promotion places. "Clearly, improvement is needed on the field," opined new chairman Michael Slater.
The Addicks are now 11th, 15 points away from second and 13 adrift of the play-offs with club legend Chris Powell attempting to destroy his previously unshakeable relationship with the Valley faithful.
Bristol Rovers are also under their third manager of the season in the shape of club captain Stuart Campbell, appointed on a caretaker basis until the summer. Fans will argue that Dave Penney wasn't the answer after two wins in 13 games. But perhaps Paul Trollope was.
To put it bluntly, the importance of stability in football management cannot be underestimated. A cursory glance at the summit of the Premier League table shows Manchester United and Arsenal battling it out for domestic honours yet again.
And the two managers out in front in terms of longevity in England? Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. The duo are, undoubtedly, two of the most talented of their generation, but both have benefited from vital support from their respective club hierarchies in tough times.
I'm not suggesting that a chairman should blindly back a manager if irreparable damage has been done on or off the field, but far too many in the boardroom believe that change will bring about an improvement, when patience and consistency would instead be advisable.