Sunday 22 April 2018

Will Chelsea be sacking Jose Mourinho on November 22?

Jose Mourinho has endured a difficult start to the season at Chelsea
Jose Mourinho has endured a difficult start to the season at Chelsea

Alistair Tweedale

When Chelsea this week issued their manager with a vote of confidence for the first time in the Roman Abramovich era, they probably did not realise the implications of what they were doing.

On the face of it, their actions were a show of support for Jose Mourinho: it was unusual for them to publicly back their increasingly beleaguered manager rather than simply discard him like they had done with so many before.

The closest the very private Abramovich had previously come to a vote of confidence was in November 2011 when he told Andre Villas-Boas he had his support, only to dismiss him 100 days later.

That is generally what can be expected of managers who are given the ‘dreaded vote of confidence’ in public, too, and could hint at Mourinho’s fate. Very rarely indeed do managers who are backed in public ever survive for a significant amount of time. Often they are removed within a matter of weeks.

A morning spent researching the vote confidence hints that the future looks rather bleak for Mourinho (whilst also revealing that such backing is not limited to sport, let alone football. Scotland’s under fire police chief Stephen House was delivered a dreaded vote of confidence by Nicola Sturgeon earlier this year).

A sample of 16 recent votes of confidence reveals that the average amount of time that ultimately sacked managers last at that club is only 48.4 days. Were Mourinho to survive that long, it would take him through to November 22, a day after facing Norwich at home, where a poor result may force Abramovich’s hand.

This number is of course only taking into account managers that were eventually sacked by their club, but the Chelsea boss has insisted that if he is to depart, his superiors would have to sack him.

Brendan Rodgers lasted only 57 days after he was given his board’s backing on the eve of the 2015/16 Premier League season, while earlier this year Ian Holloway was afforded only 11 more days at Millwall.

Days survived after vote of confidence

Manager                       Days survived

O.G. Solskjaer              216

Roy Hodgson               84

Malky Mackay               77

Brendan Rodgers        57

Roberto Mancini          54

Chris Hughton             49

Average                       48.4

Martin Jol                      48

Kenny Dalglish              34

Mick McCarthy             32

Mark Hughes               25

David Moyes                 24

Felix Magath                 23

Alex McLeish                19

Paul Lambert              14

Ian Holloway              11

Juande Ramos             8


Back in 2008, Juande Ramos survived just eight days at Tottenham after being given a vote of confidence, when two losses in the space of a week sealed his fate. Results instantly improved after he departed.

In 2012, Alex McLeish was given the boot 19 days after being backed; Mick McCarthy lasted just 32 days at Wolves and Kenny Dalglish 34 days at Liverpool. Roberto Mancini was given a further 54 days at Manchester City before being removed in May 2013.

Clearly, when a board is forced into a position where it feels it is necessary to voice their support for the manager, they are already considering his role at the club.

It does not always turn out that the trigger is pulled so instantaneously. Roy Hodgson was given nearly three months at Liverpool before being removed, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lasted a further 216 days at Cardiff.

Incredibly, Paul Lambert was given a vote of confidence in three consecutive Januarys at Aston Villa, surviving the first two (in 2013 and 2014) before a third at the start of this year from chief executive Tom Fox proved one too many. He was sacked two weeks later.

Few managers are afforded the level of patience the Aston Villa board gave Lambert, though Mourinho could have a little more time than most given his past achievements at Stamford Bridge. There is of course the chance that Mourinho will recover from the current slump and go on to enjoy a long spell at Chelsea.

Alex Ferguson was given a vote of confidence in 2004 and Arsene Wenger was, too, in 2011. Both avoided the sack, so perhaps there is still hope for Mourinho.

However, neither was in as dire a predicament as Chelsea’s at present and both had also already enjoyed far more success at their respective clubs.

History would suggest that time could be up for Mourinho before long; the dreaded vote of confidence leaves few survivors.

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