Stability long overdue at Carrow Road

Chris LakeyPaul Lambert will buck a national trend if he joins the increasingly elite Carrow Road club of managers who complete a full season in charge. Only one man - Nigel Worthington - has started and finished the same season in the last decade.Chris Lakey

Paul Lambert will buck a national trend if he joins the increasingly elite Carrow Road club of managers who complete a full season in charge.

Only one man - Nigel Worthington - has started and finished the same season in the last decade.

City's decline down the football ladder has coincided with a flurry of changes in the hot seat, with 10 managers - seven permanent, three on a caretaker basis - since the millennium.

The statistics suggest that managers, nationwide, are treading on thin ice - the latest surveys by the League Managers' Association (LMA) revealed that the average tenure of those dismissed in 2009-10 was at an all time low of 1.40 years.

However, Lambert's success at the helm has ensured him not only of a place in the club's history books, but put him in a much stronger position at a club which perhaps sees itself on the brink of a return to the credibility it enjoyed in the 90s.

Worthington's reign remains the third longest in City's post-war history - after John Bond's and his successor, Ken Brown's, in the 1970s and 80s.

Most Read

But those tenures appear to be a thing of the past, according to the LMA, who are concerned at the revolving door syndrome in the top four levels of English football.

In the season just coming to an end, there were 51 managerial moves, 36 of which were dismissals. Only eight clubs have had the same manager for the last five years - Manchester United, Arsenal, Accrington Stanley, Everton, Southend, Dagenham & Redbridge, Liverpool and Cardiff.

A dozen first-time managers lost their jobs, but the days of the 'dinosaur' are on the wane - Sir Alex Ferguson is the longest serving manager in English football and there have been 969 dismissals since he was appointed in November, 1986.

LMA Chief Executive, Richard Bevan, said: 'It is disappointing to see another season with such significantly high numbers of manager dismissals across the four leagues - 35 of the LMA's members have lost their job in the past season. This statistic is not only worrying for the individuals themselves, but also for the staff and fans of their respective clubs.

'Sacking a manager creates instability and uncertainty and this season's high number of dismissals reinforces how volatile an industry football is, especially for managers.

'More worrying, is that the average tenure of those managers that were dismissed this season has reached an all time low by comparison with other years.

'In simple terms, managers are being given less and less time to deliver. This goes against both the theory and the reality - clubs who give their managers time are more stable and more successful.

'Without a doubt, it is important to appoint the right manager for the job and we will be working with the clubs to assist them with their recruitment processes. We are also working with managers and clubs to ensure better lines of communication, clarity for managers in their role and the setting of realistic goals.'

Those comments will ring a bell with City fans, who saw a worrying trend creeping in at Carrow Road after Worthington left.

Successor, Peter Grant, threw in the towel after a little less than a year, while Glenn Roeder stuck it out for a further three months before the axe fell.

Former City chairman Roger Munby was at the helm for both tenures, but even he admitted the board got it wrong both times.

'With hindsight, observations come to mind about the previous manager and the one before that,' he said. 'Both had the technical ability and integrity, but the appropriateness of those appointments for our club is another matter.'

Bryan Gunn's appointment in January last year divided the rank and file, but once again fans were not given the stability they craved as the City legend was sacked with just 21 games under his belt. The average managerial tenure of the Grant-Roeder-Gunn eras is a measly 336 days - 11 months and two days.

The national trend is of shifting sands, and regionally, East Anglia is doing nothing to halt the tide of departures.

Southend's Steve Tilson is the longest serving - and fifth overall - having been in charge at Roots Hall since November, 2003, while Roy Keane is second longest, having joined Ipswich 13 months ago. Lambert is the third-longest serving manager in East Anglia - with just short of a season at Norwich to his name - and 51st overall.

t Longest servers in England

1 Sir Alex Ferguson (Man Utd) November, 1986

2 Arsene Wenger (Arsenal) September, 1996

3 John Coleman (Accrington Stanley) August, 1999

4 David Moyes (Everton) March, 2002

5 Steve Tilson (Southend) November, 2003

6 John Still (Dagenham) April, 2004

7 Rafael Benitez (Liverpool) June, 2004

8 Dave Jones (Cardiff) May, 2005

9 Paul Trollope (Bristol Rovers) November, 2005

10 Tony Pulis (Stoke) June, 2006

t City managers in the 21st century

Paul Lambert 9 months and eight days

Ian Butterworth (caretaker)

Bryan Gunn 6 months, 25 days

Glenn Roeder 1 year 2 months 16 days

Jim Duffy (caretaker)

Peter Grant 11 months, 24 days

Martin Hunter (caretaker)

Nigel Worthington 5 years, 9 months and 29 days

Bryan Hamilton 8 months and 22 days

t East Anglian clubs

Steve Tilson (Southend) November, 2003

Roy Keane (Ipswich) April, 2009

Paul Lambert (Norwich) August, 2009

Ian Sampson (Northampton) October, 2009

Gary Johnson (Peterborough) April, 2010

Karl Robinson (MK Dons) May, 2010

Colchester - managerless