Take a leaf out of Southampton’s book – sacking a manager isn’t always the answer

Manager sacking season is beginning to start.

We’ve seen a few bite the dust in recent weeks up and down the leagues. So far they’ve been consigned to a few select league clubs.

But there is no doubt they won’t be the last managers to be given there P45 in the coming weeks.

However chairmen and women might want to think again and just look at the Premier League table before they make any hasty decisions.

Almost a year ago Southampton got absolutely battered by Leicester City. A 9-0 humiliation at home was as bad as it can get for a manager.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s future after that mauling in October 2019 left him hanging by a thread at St Mary’s.

As far as some fans and journalists were concerned, the chairman had the scissors out and was sharpening them ready to cut the cord.

But he didn’t. At the time people thought it was a big gamble. I’m sure some part of Hasenhuttl himself thought it was a gamble.

I’m sure he was questioning his abilities after such a hiding.

But he dug in, the board there had the bottle to stick with him, and how that has paid off.

Earlier this month Southampton were sitting pretty at the top of England’s top division for the first time since the 1980s.

It was a lesson in persistance and patience. Not just from the manager and the players, but from the club’s hierarchy.

It was a lesson that should be heeded by boardrooms up and down the country over the coming weeks.

When they’re having those difficult conversations about potential sackings, they should sit back and give it a second thought, and think what could happen if they gave their man a bit more time.

Now I’m not naive to think just because Hasenhuttl has taken Southampton on a journey to the top of the pile, that his story will be replicated by all other clubs.

It won’t. Slavan Bilic might not turn things around at The Hawthorns and his days may soon be numbered.

The same could be said for the likes of Burnley, and then underachieving clubs further down the pyramid.

Not all clubs can maybe afford to gamble and keep a manager on, but equally sacking a manager and bringing in a new face may be a big gamble.

There’s no right or wrong answers when it comes to dismissing managers.

Some work, some don’t. New managers excel, some don’t. But the Southampton story should make boardrooms think twice before getting the axe out.

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