Man Utd and Chelsea on list of shortest managerial sacking statements ever

Matt Stead

The evidence suggests Antonio Conte got away lightly for his ultimately miserable reign at Spurs. Even Man Utd have hung a sacked manager out to dry before.

Conte was finally given his wish by Daniel Levy as Spurs parted with the Italian during the international break. The ultimate inside story on his demise is worth a read.

But destructive as his final weeks were, Spurs at least afforded Conte a few paragraphs in their tearless goodbye.

This lot did not benefit from such long-windedness. The following managers were given the shortest shrift possible in official club website statements confirming their exit. And yes, we have checked every single one of them.

For reference, Southampton gave Nathan Jones a whole 51 words when sacking him in February. So there’s the line.


Nigel Pearson – Watford (49 words)
After dragging the Hornets from seven points adrift of safety upon his appointment to three points clear of the relegation zone with two games remaining, Nigel Pearson found himself unexpectedly out of work shortly before the lockdown season’s eventual conclusion. Not even ending Liverpool’s Invincibles hopes could safeguard him from the inevitable Vicarage Road chop, delivered with faceless, impersonal brutality.

The statement in full:

‘Watford FC confirms that Nigel Pearson has left the club with immediate effect.

‘Hayden Mullins, with Graham Stack as his assistant, will take up the position of Interim Head Coach for the Hornets’ final two Premier League fixtures of the 2019/20 season.

‘There will be no further club comment.’


Andre Villas-Boas – Spurs (49 words)
Conte should consider himself lucky to have received a positively verbose 111-word parting statement. Andre Villas-Boas was given less than half that for an 18-month reign which came crumbling down after heavy defeats to Manchester City (6-0) and Liverpool (0-5) in quick succession. But he did at least get some Future Endeavours chat.

The statement in full:

‘The club can announce that agreement has been reached with head coach, Andre Villas-Boas, for the termination of his services.

‘The decision was by mutual consent and in the interests of all parties. We wish Andre well for the future.

‘We shall make a further announcement in due course.’


Steven Gerrard – Aston Villa (41 words)
The stepping stone on which Steven Gerrard, for want of a better phrase, slipped. The Aston Villa post was supposed to eventually propel him into the Liverpool job but a record of 44 points from 38 Premier League games – with that form firmly on a downward spiral after decent backing in the transfer market – put the 42-year-old back in the scathing punditry seat.

The statement in full:

‘Aston Villa Football Club can confirm that Head Coach Steven Gerrard has left the club with immediate effect.

‘A club spokesman said: “We would like to thank Steven for his hard work and commitment and wish him well for the future.”

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard looks dejected


Lawrie Sanchez – Fulham (41 words)
After guiding Fulham from 15th, four points above the relegation zone upon his interim appointment as Chris Coleman’s replacement in April 2007, to a finish of 16th and safe by one point upon the end of the season, Lawrie Sanchez earned himself a permanent three-year contract at Craven Cottage. It lasted until December.

The statement in full:

‘Fulham Football Club today announced its decision to replace Lawrie Sanchez as manager of Fulham Football Club with immediate effect.

‘Ray Lewington and Billy McKinlay will be in charge of the team whilst a search for a permanent replacement takes place.’


Rafael Benitez – Everton (40 words)
Never, for reasons patently obvious long before his appointment, was Rafael Benitez a popular choice as Everton manager. But the Spaniard, while faced with a mountainous task to win over the supporters, summarily failed to engender a morsel of positivity in seven months at Goodison Park, as reflected by the message scrawled on his Toffees tombstone.

The statement in full:

‘Everton Football Club can confirm the departure of Rafael Benitez as First Team manager.

‘Benitez, who joined Everton in June 2021, has left the Club with immediate effect.

‘An update on a permanent replacement will be made in due course.’


Avram Grant – West Ham (40 words)
It was within minutes of their Premier League relegation being confirmed that West Ham felt compelled to take action against manager Avram Grant in May 2011. A 3-2 defeat to Wigan secured the club and coach’s fate, with the prospect of a gloriously miserable lap of dishonour for the season’s final game against Sunderland the following week cruelly snatched away.

The statement in full:

‘The club can confirm that Avram Grant is no longer the manager of West Ham United. First-team coach Kevin Keen will take charge of the team for the final home match of the season against Sunderland on Sunday May 22.’


Les Reed – Charlton (37 words)
A remarkably close-run thing this, but Les Reed lasted marginally more days as the shortest-reigning manager in Premier League history than he was granted words in his farewell message from Charlton.

The statement in full:

‘Les Reed has left his position as Charlton’s head coach by mutual consent. Alan Pardew will take charge of the Addicks, and has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract. The club is making no further comment at this time.’


David Moyes – Man Utd (33 words)
After allowing speculation to run rampant, with newspaper reports revealing Moyes’ demise emerging on the Monday after an insipid Man Utd defeat to Everton confirmed Champions League qualification was a mathematical impossibility, official club correspondence finally came at 8.30am on the Tuesday, terminating a six-year contract after 10 months.

The statement in full:

‘Man Utd has announced that David Moyes has left the Club. The Club would like to place on record its thanks for the hard work, honesty and integrity he brought to the role.’


Malky Mackay – Cardiff (33 words)
Considering owner Vincent Tan was said to have requested Mackay’s resignation by email in mid-December of 2013, the Scot did well to cling on for two more games – defeats, obviously – before the club took action.

The statement in full:

‘The Board of Directors at Cardiff City Football Club have today relieved Malky Mackay of his duties.

‘A new first team manager will be appointed and announced in due course.

‘More to follow.’


Graeme Souness – Newcastle (33 words)
Declan Rice’s new best friend
 had the thankless task of replacing Sir Bobby Robson on Tyneside in September 2004 and it proved to be such a challenging time that Souness has not returned to management since. Public arguments with Craig Bellamy and Laurent Robert, as well as actual infighting between Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer, predictably characterised a 16-month reign that a 12-year-old Paul Pogba had doomed from the offset.

The statement in full:

‘Newcastle United today announced that the employment of Graeme Souness has been terminated with immediate effect.

‘An announcement will be made shortly regarding transitional arrangements pending the appointment of a new team manager.’


Iain Dowie – Charlton (24 words)
The immediate post-Curbishley era at The Valley was as merciless as it was aimless. Reed can count himself fortunate to have received as many as 37 words; his predecessor was shown no such courtesy. Dowie took over from Curbishley, spent £13.7m on Djimi Traore, Amdy Faye, Andy Reid, Souleymane Diawara, Ben Thatcher and Madjid Bougherra, won two of 12 games and was sacked in November with the club bottom of the league: a position from which they would not recover.

The statement in full:

‘The Addicks announced on Monday night that head coach Iain Dowie had left Charlton. The club will issue a further statement on Tuesday morning.’


Jose Mourinho – Chelsea (15 words)
Before the palpable discord came a mutual consent which fooled approximately no-one. Didier Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard were reduced to tears after the news broke of Mourinho’s demise, the Portuguese having reportedly dared an unimpressed Roman Abramovich to sack him after a Champions League draw with Rosenborg. The former Chelsea owner rarely needed much persuading.

Man Utd gave Mourinho as many as 65 words when sacking him in December 2018. That’s more like it.

The statement in full:

‘Chelsea football club and Jose Mourinho have agreed to part company today by mutual consent.’