Norwich City is the only club in the Premier League’s Bottom Six not to have sacked at least one manager this year, and that’s a fact that could change soon.
Chris Hughton has won just 29 percent of his matches as boss of Norwich City and the Canaries hierarchy isn’t rushing to back the second-year man. The PL’s sixteenth-place club is just one point ahead of No. 17 West Bromwich Albion and No. 18 Sunderland, which is obviously troubling to Norwich chief executive David McNally.
Hughton’s boss says the club is aware of their alternatives to help save Norwich’s place in England’s top flight.
“If we needed to make a change, and the average tenure of a Premier League manager is about a year-and-a-half, which puts Chris in the top six or top eight longest serving right now, then if a change was necessary, it wouldn’t be a case of, ‘Who are the contenders?’
“It would be a case of reviewing what is required, where are we going and who is best placed to take the club forward. If we believe Chris is the right man to take the club forward, then we stick with that.
“It is fine margins in our sport and what you have to be sure of is a guaranteed improvement.”
Hughton’s managerial reputation was relatively strong entering this season. He brought Newcastle directly back to the Premier League after a year in the Championship with one of the top records in club history.
After being unceremoniously sacked by NUFC owner Mike Ashley after a rocky patch the next season, he was a hot commodity and earned a gig with Birmingham City. They were a Championship club playing in the Europa League, and Hughton lead them deep into the tournament.
Earning a shot in the Premier League with Norwich, Hughton guided the club to safety in 2012-13 with an eleventh-place finish. They brought in Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel to bolster their strike force but have scored just 19 goals, one higher than the PL’s worst producers (Crystal Palace).
Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.
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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”
Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:
“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.
“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.
Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.
[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]
Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.
Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)
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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.
That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.
One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.
[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]
Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.
Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.