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Last Updated: Monday, 14 August 2006, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
The sack race
By Saj Chowdhury

Frenchman Alain Perrin became last season's first Premiership managerial casualty when he was ousted from his position at Portsmouth.

Bookmakers had installed Newcastle boss Graeme Souness as favourite to be shown the exit door before anybody else - and he was eventually booted out just after Christmas.

Sunderland's Mick McCarthy was the third and final manager to lose his job.

So who are the managers likely to pick up their P45s this season?


ARSENE WENGER - Arsenal

Arsene Wenger

The chances of Wenger getting the boot are as likely as Jose Mourinho turning up to Chelsea's training ground in a dress and a Tina Turner wig. It is not going to happen.

Verdict: Do the Gunners hand out knighthoods?

Sack Rating: 1/10

MARTIN O'NEILL - Aston Villa

Martin O'Neill

O'Neill is back in the big time - a place he rightly deserves to be. With a new regime about to take charge of the club and the promise of a large cash injection, the former Celtic boss can look forward to taking Villa out of the mire they have inhabited for a few seasons.

Verdict: O'Neill will not be sacked and his odds will lengthen during his tenure.

Sack Rating: 2/10

MARK HUGHES - Blackburn

Mark Hughes

At the watering holes situated around Ewood Park, there are those still regaling the tale of how a man called Mark Hughes plucked their beloved Blackburn from the depths of despair to take them to a place within reach of the Premiership elite.

Verdict: Hughes is the best manager they have had since Kenny Dalglish. Position safe.

Sack Rating: 4/10

SAM ALLARDYCE - Bolton

Sam Allardyce

The best 'wheeler and dealer' since... Harry Redknapp. Very shrewd in the transfer market bringing in players who fit into the dogged work ethic he has instilled in his teams.

The only thing against him is that he made it a little too obvious that he wanted the England job and failed to get his team into Europe.

Verdict: Unlikely to get the sack, but the disappointments of last season may rub off on to his players.

Sack Rating: 4/10

IAIN DOWIE - Charlton

Iain Dowie

Charlton can feel proud of themselves to have landed the sought-after Dowie after he chose to 'move north' from Crystal Palace to join them.

The 41-year-old has managed to keep star striker Darren Bent and added the experience of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Verdict: Likely to be given a fair crack of the whip by his bosses and may even surprise a few.

Sack Rating: 5/10

JOSE MOURINHO - Chelsea

Jose Mourinho

Perhaps Mourinho's job is not as secure as perhaps it should be.

The figurehead of Roman Abramovich's Stamford Bridge revolution is expected to guide the side to a third successive Premiership win, but the real prize is the Champions League. Would another failure be tolerated by Abramovich?

Verdict: Mourinho is in charge of one of the strongest sides ever assembled in club football - so no worries then?

Sack Rating: 5/10

DAVID MOYES - Everton

David Moyes

After an extremely brief foray into the Champions League, earned by finishing fourth the previous campaign, Moyes' men came plumetting down to earth to end the 2005/2006 season in 11th.

His future at the club may depend on whether 8.6m striker Andy Johnson can provide the goals of which they have been starved.

Verdict: Another season of mid-table mediocrity may not please the board.

Sack Rating: 6/10

CHRIS COLEMAN - Fulham

Chris Coleman

This may sound slightly condescending - but Fulham are not the sort of club expected to achieve anything other than retaining their Premiership status.

Because of that Coleman's job should be safe, because Fulham will not go down.

Verdict: There will be some worrying moments for Coleman, but he should be fine.

Sack Rating: 6/10

RAFAEL BENITEZ - Liverpool

Rafa Benitez

Benitez has already achieved sainthood having guided Liverpool to their millionth (slight exaggeration) European Cup triumph.

He is now looking for his side to achieve the almost impossible, by beating Chelsea to the title. The signing of Craig Bellamy may prove to be his best move yet.

Verdict: Safe. But many will expect Benitez's men to challenge strongly for domestic and European honours.

Sack Rating: 4/10

STUART PEARCE - Manchester City

Stuart Pearce

Pearce appears to be relying on youthful vigour to lead City's charge this season, but some fans may be wondering - where are the big-name signings?

Pearce's troops were too close to the clutches of relegation last season, the former England international cannot afford another campaign like that.

Verdict: Pearce must get City challenging for Europe.

Sack Rating: 6/10

SIR ALEX FERGUSON - Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson

Every year United fans debate whether Ferguson should stay or leave, but they never call for the 64-year-old to be turfed out - one look at his record will tell you why.

Verdict: They say there is no man bigger than the club, but Sir Alex comes close.

Sack Rating: 3/10

GARETH SOUTHGATE - Middlesbrough

Gareth Southgate

Boro have put a lot of faith into a man who has no managerial experience. Southgate will find it difficult to get his side among those challenging for Europe and instead may be locked in a battle at the other end of the table.

Verdict: Will struggle.

Sack Rating: 7/10

GLENN ROEDER - Newcastle

Glenn Roeder

Last season, Roeder saved Newcastle by getting them to do the simple things well - and in a below-par Premiership, that was enough for seventh and a place in Europe.

For Newcastle to repeat that they desperately need to find a replacement for the retired Alan Shearer, otherwise mid-table awaits.

Verdict: Safe, but no Kevin Keegan-style heroics.

Sack Rating: 5/10

HARRY REDKNAPP - Portsmouth

Harry Redknapp

Arguably the Premiership's manager of the 2005/2006 season. Redknapp's achievement in pulling the side out of the relegation mire was nothing short of amazing.

The Pompey boss is in the rare position of having money to spend, so expect him to make the most of the situation.

Verdict: No pressure on Harry.

Sack Rating: 5/10

STEVE COPPELL - Reading

Steve Coppell
If Reading can come close to replicating what Wigan achieved in their debut Premiership season, then it would have been a mighty effort.

Coppell is no stranger to the Premiership, so if the Royals get involved in the relegation dogfight, as predicted, then his experience may prove important.

Verdict: Reading will stand by Coppell and Coppell will stand by Reading.

Sack Rating: 4/10

NEIL WARNOCK - Sheffield United

Neil Warnock

Many are probably already looking forward to Warnock's touchline rants. That entertainment alone should guarantee him a job for life at Bramall Lane - but football is not as simple as that.

The Blades will probably be fighting relegation all season.

Verdict: Despite the almost inevitable outcome, United will stick with the man who bleeds red and white.

Sack Rating: 4/10

MARTIN JOL - Tottenham

Martin Jol

It is highly unlikely Jol will be sacked. He has breathed life into Spurs and bought well - including Dimitar Berbatov, who may turn out to his best signing to date.

Verdict: Space is already being made for Jol in Tottenham's Hall of Fame.

Sack Rating: 3/10

AIDY BOOTHROYD - Watford

Aidy Boothroyd

The average follower of the Premiership will know little or nothing of Boothroyd, because he has risen up the ranks in a very short time.

Unfortunately, Watford have not got much in the transfer kitty and will probably go down which would not give Boothroyd enough of an opportunity to show what he can do.

Verdict: Watford will keep faith with Boothroyd.

Sack Rating: 4/10

ALAN PARDEW - West Ham

Alan Pardew

Pardew was tipped by many to see the exit door first last season. But he proved them wrong by taking the Hammers to the FA Cup final and a respectable ninth in the Premiership.

Verdict: Pardew is growing in stature and West Ham will want to hang on to him.

Sack Rating: 4/10

PAUL JEWELL - Wigan

Paul Jewell

Wigan were brilliant for most of last season, but fell away dramatically towards the end. They were worrying signs and Jewell may find Premiership life less rosy this season.

Verdict: Could go at the turn of the year if Wigan begin badly.

Sack Rating: 7/10



SEE ALSO
Premiership club-by-club guide
14 Aug 06 |  Premiership
Premiership ones to watch
14 Aug 06 |  Premiership


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