With Watford reaching the FA Cup final under Gracia’s guidance only a few months ago, some fans have called the decision harsh – but with the pressure in the Premier League so high, chairmen have often exhibited a startling lack of patience once results start to dip, and dip they have at Vicarage Road.
Following the first managerial dismissal of the 2019/20 campaign, here are ten other managers over the last dozen years who were sacked relatively early into the Premier League campaign.
Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea – Date of Sacking: 21st November 2012
Even though Roberto Di Matteo had led Chelsea to their maiden Champions League title in May 2012, owner Roman Abramovich – who does have a reputation of sacking managers – dismissed Di Matteo after Chelsea lost 3-0 to Juventus, leaving the Blues on a brink of a Champions League exit.
Di Matteo had replaced Andre-Villas Boas earlier that year in March and, although he guided them to the Champions League title and had the Blues sitting in third in the Premier League table in November, he was still sacked. Harsh.
Tony Pulis at West Brom – Date of Sacking: 20th November 2017
Following a run of ten Premier League games without a win during the opening months of the 2017/18 season, Tony Pulis was sacked after a dreadful 4-0 home defeat to Chelsea.
He was dismissed with the Baggies just one place (and point) above the drop zone. However, Alan Pardew replaced Pulis but failed to deliver results, with West Brom eventually relegated under their third manager of the campaign; Darren Moore.
Maybe they should have stuck with Pulis after all…
Slaven Bilic at West Ham – Date of Sacking: 6th November 2017
Another man who lost his job in the early stages of the 2017/18 campaign was former Croatia manager Slaven Bilic, sacked on 6th November after the club had fallen into the Premier League relegation zone.
Bilic did enjoy a good couple of years at West Ham, and at the time of his sacking had the best average points record (1.33ppg) of anybody to manage the Hammers in the Premier League – ahead of the likes of Alan Curbishley and Harry Redknapp.
Tim Sherwood at Aston Villa – Date of Sacking: 25th October 2015
Eight months after his appointment, Sherwood lost his job at Aston Villa in October after only winning one of the season's opening ten league matches.
He was another manager who had some success before his sacking, with the former Spurs player guiding the club to the FA Cup final in May 2015.
Ronald Koeman at Everton – Date of Sacking: 23rd October 2017
Dutchman Ronald Koeman had overseen more than £140m worth of spending at Everton in the summer of 2017, but his failure to replace 2016/17 leading goalscorer Romelu Lukaku – who had joined Manchester United – arguably cost him his job.
After a debacle of a performance at Goodison Park against Arsenal saw the Toffees go down 5-2, Koeman was sacked with Everton sitting in 18th place.
Craig Shakespeare at Leicester City – Date of Sacking: 17th October 2017
Craig Shakespeare’s appointment at the start of 2017 was surrounded by controversy, with many furious that legend Claudio Ranieri was sacked just eight months after winning the most unlikely Premier League title of all time.
Shakespeare came in but struggled during his first full season, leaving the club third from bottom when he was dismissed. Tragedy.
Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool – Date of Sacking: 4th October 2015
Rodgers’ sacking gave us that famous Jamie Carragher and Thierry Henry hand on leg moment in the Sky Sports studio. Yes, you know the one.
Even though Rodgers was just a Gerrard slip away from winning the Premier League in the 2013/14 season, he failed to hit the same heights after that and was sacked after a 1-1 draw at Everton left the Reds in tenth place.
It is fair to say that Jurgen Klopp has done alright as his replacement.
Paolo Di Canio at Sunderland – Date of Sacking: 22nd September 2013
Paolo Di Canio was sacked just six weeks into the 2013/14 season after Sunderland’s poor performances had left them bottom of the Premier League table. Thumped by West Brom and Crystal Palace in September, his tenure was short and singularly unspectacular – with the possible exception of a single Tyne-Wear derby win.
Jose Mourinho at Chelsea – Date of Sacking: 20th September 2007
Mourinho delivered Chelsea back-to-back titles for the first time in their history in his first two years at the club, but things had turned sour between the Portuguese and Roman Abramovich. Y'know, 'Mourinho third season' sour.
Following a 1-1 draw with Rosenborg, Mourinho challenged Abramovich to sack him if he was not happy with results. He did.
Frank de Boer at Crystal Palace – Date of Sacking: 11th September 2017
After just 77 days in charge – only 30 of those in-season – Frank de Boer had the shortest tenure of anybody on this list.
He managed Palace in just four Premier League matches and was fired by Steve Parish after his side failed to muster a single goal in any of them. They lost all four.