Championship - Championship proves dangerous territory for managers

Life just below the Premier League is becoming increasingly precarious for England's football managers as they strive to steer their clubs towards the riches of the top flight.

Championship - Championship proves dangerous territory for managers

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Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates winning the Football League Championship play off final

The 2012-13 season was a brutal one for managers in England's four top leagues with the 63 sackings or resignations, the equal worst total in the last 19 years, according to statistics released by the League Managers Association (LMA).

It seems that job security in the Championship (second tier) was a luxury commodity afforded few with 13 managers sacked last season, compared to eight in the Premier League and 11 in both League One and League Two.

On top of the 13 dismissals, there were also six resignations in the Championship.

Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers, both relegated from the Premier League following the 2011-2012 campaign, dismissed three and two managers respectively last season as the pressure to regain their places amongst the elite mounted.

There was a distinct lack of Christmas and New Year cheer too as six Championship managers were shown the door in the months of December and January - probably in the hope that a new man would have enough time to turn things around.

That theory failed to work at Wolves who began the last season with Stale Solbakken in charge, then replaced him with Dean Saunders in January but suffered a second successive relegation.

Saunders was in turn dismissed and replaced Kenny Jackett.

The managerial seat at Blackburn proved even hotter with Steve Kean resigning in September and his replacement Henning Berg lasting only 57 days.

Michael Appleton, who resigned at Blackpool to join Blackburn, managed only 67 days in the job, leaving Gary Bowyer as a caretaker manager and subsequently permanent boss.

"I've grown up in the industry all my life so I know what it's about. If we were to lose three games on the trot then there would be pressure," Bowyer told the BBC Radio this week.

"They haven't said 'regardless of what happens you are here all season'.

Overall, the 43 managers dismissed in England's four top leagues last season, the highest number since 2006-07, lasted an average of 2.81 years - a figure skewed by the relatively long reign of sacked Stoke City manager Tony Pulis who lasted seven years.

The average tenure of the 13 sacked managers in the Championship was 1.04 years while seven lost their jobs less than a year after being appointed.

Next season in the Premier League, which starts in August, will herald the start of new eras for the leading clubs with four of last season's top six clubs all having new managers.

David Moyes begins the job of replacing the retired Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho has returned to Chelsea and Roberto Martinez, who steered Wigan Athletic to FA Cup glory but also to relegation, takes over at Everton.

Manchester City are still to announce the likely appointment of Manuel Pellegrini after Roberto Mancini was sacked at the end of the last campaign.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is now the longest serving manager in the top four tiers of English football, his 16 years is nine more than next in line Paul Tisdale at Exeter City.

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