The earliest manager departures in Premier League history

It wasn’t until December that we saw our first manager sacking of the 2023/24 Premier League season as Sheffield United parted ways with Paul Heckingbottom.

By this time last season, five managers had been sacked in the Premier League, including the likes of Steven Gerrard, Ralph Hasenhuttl and Thomas Tuchel, while six coaches had lost their jobs before December in the 2021/22 campaign.


So far this term, Premier League clubs have shown great restraint in comparison to past seasons, although there is likely to be a few more dismissals before the end of the campaign.

Here are the ten earliest managerial departures in Premier League history.

Graeme Souness

Graeme Souness left Blackburn for Newcastle / Phil Cole/GettyImages

Having won the League Cup in 2001/02 with Blackburn Rovers, Graeme Souness had enjoyed some good moments at Ewood Park.

However, he burnt a few bridges upon his departure, leaving Rovers just 23 days into the 2004/05 season to take the job at Newcastle United.

Souness has admitted he regrets leaving Blackburn, especially after enduring a difficult period at Newcastle.

Howard Wilkinson, Glenn Hoddle

Howard Wilkinson was swiftly dismissed by Leeds / Getty Images/GettyImages

Howard Wilkinson’s eight-year tenure at Elland Road came to an abrupt end at the beginning of the 1996/97 season. The Leeds United manager had achieved two fifth-place finishes in the Premier League between 1993 and 1995, but still couldn’t avoid the axe.

After finishing an underwhelming 13th the campaign prior, Wilkinson’s time was up after a 4-0 demolition at the hands of bitter rivals Manchester United just 23 days into the new term.

Former Leeds forward Eric Cantona popped up with a late goal and assist just to rub salt in the wounds.

Ruud Gullit the Newcastle manager

Ruud Gullit didn’t spend long in the dugout on Tyneside / Tony O’Brien/GettyImages

Having only been appointed the Newcastle boss the previous August, Gullit was sacked at St James’ Park just 21 days into the new campaign.

Despite reaching the FA Cup final the season before, there was ultimately no love lost between Newcastle and Dutch midfielder, especially after some high-profile rifts in the dressing room.

Gullit couldn’t win over the supporters and a 2-1 defeat to local rivals Sunderland early in the 1999/00 season saw the former Chelsea and Milan player resign. However, he likely jumped before being pushed.

Portrait of Christian Gross

Christian Gross lasted less than a year at Spurs / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

The Swiss manager arrived at Tottenham in November 1997 with the Lilywhites seriously struggling in the Premier League, sat in the relegation zone three months into the campaign.

Despite rarely convincing at Tottenham, Gross did manage to keep Spurs in the top flight, although he would last only 21 days into the 1998/99 season.

After losing two of his first three matches, Spurs chairman Alan Sugar said ‘You’re Fired’ and sent him packing.

Kevin Keegan

Kevin Keegan was a fan favourite on Tyneside / David Rogers/GettyImages

A firm fan favourite at St James’ Park, Kevin Keegan’s second spell in the dugout didn’t last too long. Having been appointed at the beginning of the year, the ex-England boss made it just 19 days into the 2008/09 season before handing in his resignation.

After growing frustrations about his lack of control in the transfer market and a fallout with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, Keegan called quits on his return to Tyneside.

Despite picking up a respectable 1-1 draw with Man Utd on the opening day, Keegan felt his position at the club was untenable.

Alan Curbishley

Alan Curbishley was unhappy with West Ham’s hierarchy / Phil Cole/GettyImages

Just a day before Keegan departed Newcastle, Alan Curbishley quit his job with West Ham for similar reasons only 18 days into the new season.

Curbishley was unhappy that key players such as Anton Ferdinand had been sold without his consent by the club’s hierarchy, resigning as a result.

The former Hammers boss hasn’t taken a job in management since.

Bobby Robson

Bobby Robson was replaced by Souness / Stu Forster/GettyImages

The man Souness replaced at Newcastle in the early stages of the 2004/05 season was Bobby Robson. The late great former England boss spent five years at St James’ Park before he was controversially removed from his post just 16 days into the new campaign.

After Newcastle failed to qualify for the Champions League the season before, pressure began to mount on Robson, but few expected him to be dismissed so swiftly.

It was a decision that got significant backlash from the Newcastle fans, with Souness’ subsequent struggles only exacerbating things on Tyneside.

Newcastle United Manager Kenny Dalglish

Kenny Dalglish managed under two weeks of the new season / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

There is a theme emerging here, with Newcastle never shy of pulling the trigger on managers they deem to be underperforming. Having initially replaced Keegan during his first spell at St James’ Park, Dalglish was unable to capture the hearts of the Toon Army like his predecessor did.

Dalglish endured a tough spell with the Magpies, eventually sacked 12 days into the 1998/99 season after successive draws with Charlton Athletic and Chelsea.

Dalglish would go on to manage his two former clubs Celtic and Liverpool, although those appointments would come over a decade apart.

Peter Reid

Peter Reid lasted just 12 days in the 1993/94 season / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

While technically player-manager at Manchester City, Peter Reid still managed to get sacked just 12 days into the 1993/94 campaign.

After one draw and three defeats from his first four games of the season, Reid was dismissed as manager and player, moving to Southampton afterwards.

Reid would resume his coaching career at Sunderland in 1995 before taking jobs with Leeds United and Coventry City.

Paul Sturrock

Sturrock lasted just over a week into the new campaign / Matthew Lewis/GettyImages

The quickest departure in Premier League history came on the south coast as Paul Sturrock lost his job at Southampton just nine days into the 2004/05 campaign.

Sturrock’s entire tenure with the Saints lasted just 13 games, but his successors Steve Wigley and Harry Redknapp couldn’t keep Southampton in the Premier League anyway.

The Scot would never manage in the top flight again.

Earliest manager departures in the Premier League



Days into new season

Date of departure

Paul Sturrock



23 August 2004

Peter Reid

Man City


26 August 1993

Kenny Dalglish



17 August 1998

Bobby Robson



30 August 2004

Alan Curbishley

West Ham


3 September 2008

Kevin Keegan



4 September 2008

Christian Gross



5 September 1998

Ruud Gullit



28 August 1999

Howard Wilkinson



9 September 1996

Graeme Souness



6 September 2004


Source of the article

Author: XenBet