Mark Coughlan orders the top-flight chiefs by job security, from the man sweating at No.20 to the safest job in the division
20. Mark Hughes (Stoke)
It’s been four seasons since Sparky arrived at Stoke, and things haven’t exactly gone to plan. Hughes was meant to oversee a transition in which the club pushed for European football, as well as a total change in style.
The dirge that was produced last season – only five sides scored fewer, and three of them went down – was despite the talent of Xherdan Shaqiri, Marko Arnautovic and Bojan (who left halfway through the season). Peter Crouch, 36 by campaign's end, finished up top scorer.
Arnautovic has now left for West Ham, with Andros Townsend reportedly lined up as the replacement. At some point soon, you expect that Stoke and Hughes will have to go their separate ways.
19. Marco Silva (Watford)
Oh, Marco. Many grew to love the suave Portuguese chap who arrived as a total unknown – to British pundits, at least – and nearly pulled off the impossible dream of survival at Hull. But now he's thrown his cards in with the insanity of Watford.
Silva has actually brought in some shrewd reinforcements, while Brazilian U20 forward Richarlison adds a dash of excitement, so maybe Watford will be a force to contend with this season. But this low ranking says more about the club than the man. Silva is the seventh manager to take charge at Vicarage Road in three years – all of which leaves his job about as secure as a spot in Trump’s White House team.
Side note: Silva told press recently that Jose Mourinho advised him to take both the Hull and Watford roles. What a good friend…
18. Craig Shakespeare (Leicester)
It’s hard to know what to make of Shakespeare’s future prospects at Leicester. He isn’t some owner-chosen super-coach who’ll be given plenty of time if things go wrong. Then again, he got the best out of the Foxes at the tail end of the last campaign, and he’s just signed Kelechi Iheanacho, who we fancy to do the business this year.
In a strange way, he also taps perfectly into the ‘everyone against us’ mentality that served Leicester so well two years ago. But who knows how long owner patience will last? A summer transfer window, and a chance to get his own ideas across, is going to expose Shakespeare like never before. A tragic ending could await him sooner rather than later.
17. Slaven Bilic (West Ham)
It’s hard to know what to make of West Ham at the moment, which is why Slaven sits relatively low here. They’ve spent a fair bit of money, and brought in some quality over the summer.
However, if the Hammers start as badly as last season, are the board going to stand by their man? Probably not. There were rumours of issues behind the scenes last season, and Bilic appears to be the sort of man who wouldn’t stand around and take too much crap when it comes down to it (translation: he looks slightly unhinged).
16. Paul Clement (Swansea)
Listen closely, and you can just make out the sound of Clement thunderclapping day and night outside Gylfi Sigurdsson’s house. Lose his main man, and Clement’s name drops down this list (not below Sparky, though – obviously).
Only the poor quality of the three teams below them saved Swansea last season. They had three different managers – and only two players who carried any threat (Fernando Llorente, alongside Sigurdsson). Clement steadied the ship that Bob ‘Voldemort’ Bradley had all but sunk, so that leaves him in good standing at the Liberty Stadium, but lest we forget: Swansea have had five managers in less than two years. Good luck, Paul.