Follow me:

Learners’ Podcast 13 – Managerial Casualties



Damian and Damon investigate some of the reasons that managers lose their jobs in this week’s free football show for learners of English.

Try out our worksheets or online quiz to help you practice your listening and vocabulary skills. If you click on the audio when it is playing on an iPod you can see the transcript as you listen. It’s a great way to practice listening and fluency!


Here is a question for you. What do the following clubs have in common? Chelsea, Bolton and Tottenham from The Premier League in England, Valencia from La Liga in Spain, Ajax and PSV from the Dutch league, Marseilles from France, Livorno from Italy’s Serie A, Energie Cottbus from The Bundesliga in Germany and Benfica in Portugal? The answer? They have all parted with their manager within the first two months of this season. In addition, the international manager Steve Staunton was fired by Ireland last week and you have got something approaching an epidemic! Languagecaster decided to have a look at some of the reasons why the job of being a football manager is a precarious one indeed.

This time of year is when club presidents and fans become nervous as they realise that their best-laid plans and optimism at the beginning of the season are starting to fall apart. It may still be early enough to turn the team around while it is not too early to be described as callous. Though Benfica’s dismissal of their coach, Santos, in the first week of the season borders on the ridiculous.

Now, perhaps the most obvious reason for a manger to be let go is that the team is under-performing and may even be in danger of losing their status in the division. This was the reason for the sackings of Orsi from Livorno and Sanders from Energie Cottbus and Emon from Marseiles. This pressure to succeed has always made the football manager’s job a stressful one, though with football now a huge business there is more pressure than ever on clubs to do well.

Though being at the foot of the table was a major reason for the firing of Sammy Lee from Bolton it was not the only factor. Lee had incurred the wrath of the senior players in the squad, which undermined his leadership as they lost all respect for him. This is called ‘losing the dressing room’ and is becoming an increasingly common reason for removing a manager, though this was not the reason for former Tottenham manager Martin Jol’s dismissal. Rather than losing the dressing room he lost the support of his chairman and board as they felt that he had taken them as far as he could and they wanted someone to push them on to better things.

This support of the board is crucial for the security of the manager’s position as they hold the power at the club and nowhere is this better demonstrated than at Chelsea under the all-powerful Russian owner Roman Abramovic. Despite winning five trophies in three years, Jose Mourinho was fired by the club as he did not see eye-to-eye with the chairman over tactics and style, though the question of whose ego was bigger probably had something to do with the decision.

Valencia’s Quique Sancez Flores has been another recent managerial casualty even though his team was in fourth place in La Liga. The home supporters lost faith with him and their constant criticism meant that he too was removed from his post.

However, managers also move clubs of their own accord as they see the chance of working at a bigger team with better chances of success. And of course a higher salary. Juande Ramos has just tripled his salary by moving to Tottenham from Sevilla, while Ten Cate quit Ajax and Koeman resigned from PSV to coach at Chelsea and Valencia respectively where their salaries are much higher.

So, who is next for the chop? With a host of top managers waiting in the wings, such as Mourinho, Lippi, Capello and Klinnsmann, as well as constant pressure to succeed now bein part of the game it will surely not be too long before we are reading about another managerial dismissal. At the moment, there is huge speculation that Steve Bruce may leave Birmingham, Carlo Ancellotti will be sacked at Milan, that Steve MacClaren will be forced out as England manager and that even Rafa Benitez may be fired at Liverpool. My money is on MacClaren.

Welcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Soccer fans can enhance these skills with lots of free language resources: a weekly podcast, football phrases, explanations of football vocabulary, football cliches, worksheets, quizzes and much more at

Google | Facebook | Twitter | Mail | Website

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Further reading