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Which Premier League season contained the most manager changes?

Marcelo Bielsa was the 9th managerial casualty of the 2021/22 season
Marcelo Bielsa was the 9th managerial casualty of the 2021/22 season

Leeds United’s recent decision to bring an end to Marcelo Bielsa’s memorable tenure at Elland Road rocketed the number of in-season Premier League managerial casualties to nine.

Considering that there are still a few months left until the curtains are drawn on the current campaign, 2021/22 could potentially hit double-figures for dugout departures; something that's only previously happened twice in the Premier League era.

Watford, shock, have so far been responsible for two terminations: Xisco Munoz and his replacement Claudio Ranieri. Newcastle parted ways with Steve Bruce, Tottenham’s Nuno Santo experiment lasted just 10 league games, Norwich sacked Daniel Farke and appointed Dean Smith who himself had been replaced at Aston Villa by Steven Gerrard.

Elsewhere, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was eventually let go by Man Utd in late November who then surprisingly replaced the Norwegian with interim manager Ralf Rangnick, while Everton’s controversial appointment of Rafa Benitez finally boiled over in the New Year.

At the time of writing, the bookies are offering odds of 9/4 (William Hill) for no more departures through to the end of the season. In truth, no one appears to be under severe pressure right now, although Frank Lampard - who has overseen just five league games (W1 L4) - has seen his odds slashed to 5/1 following a 5-0 hammering at Spurs.

Football Tips

So, how does this season's count of nine managerial departures - so far - compare to previous Premier League campaigns, and could we soon be on for a record?

We take a look at the numbers below to see which season contained the highest and lowest number of manager changes…

Note: We have only included in-season departures of permanent managers (not caretakers): From the first kick of the season to the last round of games. Any post-season exits in the summer are void. Also, a departure is by any means eg. sacking, mutual consent, resignation.

Highest Number Of Manager Changes

On two occasions we've seen 10 in-season managerial changes take place within a season, during the trigger-happy 2013/14 and 2017/18 campaigns.

2013/14 contained the high-profile April-exit of David Moyes who was catapulted from his Man Utd hot-seat just 10 months after he succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson. Other notable exits include Andre Villas-Boas from Tottenham where he was replaced by Tim Sherwood, and Sunderland sacking Paolo Di Canio.

2017/18 also hit double-digits. The first club to wield the dreaded axe, Crystal Palace, did so in record-smashing fashion as Frank de Boer's contract was torn to shreds after just four Premier League games. Yes, four!

Elsewhere, the 1994/95, 2004/05 and 2008/09 seasons also witnessed a large volume of departures - nine each - while 2007/08 and 2015/16 both contained eight apiece.

So, the 2021/22 season and it's nine casualties to date means that it is currently ranked joint-second for most in-season departures. One more exit will therefore elevate this term to joint-top alongside the 2013/14 and 2017/18 seasons (10 departures). Two more exits will therefore break the record.

Poor old Frank de Boer
Poor old Frank de Boer

Lowest Number Of Manager Changes

Here's a great quiz question for you: who was the first ever Premier League manager to lose their job?

Admittedly, it's a tough one, so a huge congratulations if you knew that the answer was Ian Porterfield, who was sacked by Chelsea in February of the inaugural 1992/93 season.

In fact, Porterfield was the only manager to leave during the whole season, something which has since only happened on one occasion, in 1995/96 when Bolton axed Roy McFarland two days into 1996.

Each of the other 28 seasons have produced at least three in-season changes, meaning we are still waiting for the first blank season. Something, that is unlikely to ever happen, but you never know...

Number of in-season managerial departures, by season

1992/93 - One

1993/94 - Seven

1994/95 - Nine

1995/96 - One

1996/97 - Six

1997/98 - Five

1998/99 - Seven

1999/00 - Four

2000/01 - Five

2001/02  - Seven

2002/03 - Five

2003/04 - Three

2004/05 - Nine

2005/06 - Three

2006/07 - Six

2007/08 - Eight

2008/09 - Nine

2009/10 - Five

2010/11 - Five

2011/12 - Four

2012/13 - Six

2013/14 - Ten

2014/15 - Six

2015/16 - Eight

2016/17 - Six

2017/18 - Ten

2018/19 - Six

2019/20 - Seven

2020/21 - Four

2021/22 - Nine*

*correct as of 8th March 2022

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