Seven Premier League managers who lost their jobs in the height of summer

The summer months provide an opportunity for the managerial merry-go-round to take a much-needed breather. However, these seven managers prove that even in the close-season, no one is safe.

You've seen the season out, you've even negotiated the tricky post-season appraisal and you're still in a job.

Time to start planning the pre-season friendlies, draw up your transfer targets and look forward to the first game of the campaign.

Not for these managers, however. Even at the height of summer, they managed to lose their jobs. Some had even returned for pre-season training, while others were just days from their first league game.

So, while it is currently a quiet period as far as top-flight managerial changes go, that could all change in the blink of an eye as these seven bosses found out.

Dave Merrington - Southampton (Departed June 14, 1996)

Dave Merrington arrived at The Dell during Lawrie McMenemy's managerial reign and brought on an impressive selection of young talent including Rod Wallace, Alan Shearer and Matt Le Tissier.

He was appointed manager for the 1995/96 season after Alan Ball's defection to Manchester City and oversaw a largely uninspiring season.

The Saints were in grave danger of relegation going into the final weeks of the season and were in the bottom three with nine matches remaining.

However, an impressive April in which Southampton won three of their five fixtures, including beating eventual champions Manchester United 3-1, saw them survive on goal difference at the expense of Manchester City.

The run earned Merrington the manager of the month award and he headed off into the summer with confidence high.

In mid-June he was gone.

Dave Mierrington Southampton

"To say it's a great shock is a massive understatement," Merrington said. "I'm leaving with deep regret and sadness, and the matter is now in the hands of my solicitor. It's not much of a reward for the efforts of last season."

He was replaced three weeks later by Graeme Souness, who improved Saints by just one position before quitting at the end of the campaign.

Bruce Rioch - Arsenal (Departed August 12, 1996)

Rioch had been appointed in June the previous year. He signed David Platt and Dennis Bergkamp and introduced an easy-on-the-eye passing game which looked to utilise the midfield and flanks more.

It resulted in an improvement from 12th the previous season to fifth under Rioch.

Nevertheless, a fallout with Ian Wright, who he had played on the wing and then dropped, hinted of dissension behind the scenes. This followed through to the boardroom where there were constant clashes over player wages and targets.

Just days before the start of the campaign, and with only John Lukic and 18-year old Icelandic defender Valur Gíslason signed, he was sacked. Stewart Houston and then Pat Rice kept the seat warm until a certain Arsene Wenger took over in the October.

David O'Leary - Leeds United (Departed June 27, 2002) Aston Villa (Departed July 19, 2006)

Even with no football matches to lose, David O'Leary proved remarkably adept at losing jobs in the summer months.

"I went in to clear a few things up before I went on holiday and I got the sack," he said, when commenting on his departure from Leeds in 2002.

O'Leary had spent more than £100million in his four years at Elland Road, hadn't finished outside the top five in the Premier League and had led the West Yorkshire side to a Champions League semi-final.

However, a failure to resecure Champions League football left a huge hole in the club's finances. Asked to recoup some funds in the transfer market, primarily by selling Rio Ferdinand, he rebelled.

"I don't want Ferdinand to go," said O'Leary in an interview which is understood to have angered Leeds United plc. "I love him, the fans love him and like any good manager you don't want to lose your best players. I don't want to sell him to Manchester United."

O'Leary got his wish, he was sacked before Ferdinand was sold to Manchester United.

Four years later, he at least managed to get his holiday in before he was relieved of his duties at Aston Villa.

This time it was dressed up as 'departing on mutually-agreed terms' and followed an explosive dressing room statement and a season of under-achievement in which he alienated fans.

O'Leary had branded a section of support "fickle" following a come-from-behind cup win over Wycombe. It prompted the emergence of a banner in the Holte End during a turgid 0-0 draw with Fulham, stating: 'We're not fickle. We just don't like you'.

The former Republic of Ireland defender had also criticised a lack of investment and ambition at the club, with his finger firmly pointing at chairman Doug Ellis.

When a statement was leaked, allegedly at the behest of the players, citing examples of penny-pinching, including a refusal to water the training pitches and the sacking of a masseur, Ellis chose to act.

A three-man panel cleared O'Leary of misconduct regarding the statement. However, his time at Villa Park was at an end.

He has only managed 15 league games since, in charge of Al-Ahli in the United Arab Emirates.

Harry Redknapp - Tottenham (Departed June 13, 2012)

Redknapp claims Tottenham had made the decision to get rid of him even before the end-of-season slump which saw them pipped to the final Champions League spot by a point. And by Arsenal of all teams.

"What has happened is that I met with the chairman and the club decided to go in a different direction," he said. "That's their decision."

Years later, Redknapp admitted he knew the club had already approached Carlo Ancelotti and Brendan Rodgers while he was still in the role. They eventually plumped for Andre Villas-Boas.

It was some comedown for Redknapp, who had been favourite to replace outgoing Fabio Capello as England boss in the February. At the time, Spurs were third in the league, 10 points clear of a faltering Arsenal.

John Carver - Newcastle (Departed June 9, 2013)

John Carver Newcastle manager

That the self-appointed "best coach in the Premier League" even managed to get to the end of the season following a run of just three wins in 20 and eight consecutive defeats is a miracle in itself. That he managed to survive into June and even have a hand in the Magpies' transfer planning for the following season defies belief.

Newcastle were 10th when Alan Pardew departed for Crystal Palace but plummeted under Carver and only secured their top-flight status with victory over West Ham United on the final day of the season.

"I still think I'm the best coach in the Premier League," he said prior to the final three games of the campaign.

Mike Ashley disagreed, trying to appoint Steve McClaren for the run-in, but McClaren remained committed to Derby and Newcastle eventually survived by the skin of their teeth.

Derby went on to miss out on a place in the Championship play-offs but still McClaren wasn't interested in the Newcastle role, stating "I'm 100 per cent committed to finishing the job here. After the disappointment of the weekend, it's a big job and something that over the next three or four days we're planning to put right."

Carver limped on for another month before a dramatic U-turn from McClaren saw him ditch Derby for Newcastle.

Nigel Pearson - Leicester City (Departed June 30, 2015)

Nigel Pearson had been on a knife edge for a while at Leicester and had already been sacked in the February before being reinstated the following day.

That followed an angry exchange with James McArthur which saw Pearson grapple with the Crystal Palace midfielder on the floor and put both hands around his neck.

Two months earlier, he had been fined £10,000 by the FA and handed a one-match touchline ban after an angry verbal exchange saw him tell a Leicester supporter to "f**k off and die".

Nevertheless, all appeared well that summer after a stunning run of form had seen Leicester win seven of their last nine Premier League games to climb off the bottom of the table and finish 14th.

Pearson brought in Christian Fuchs, Robert Huth and Shinji Okazaki in the summer but a 'goodwill' tour to Thailand was to prove his undoing.

Three Leicester players, including the manager's son, James, were accused of taking part in a racist sex tape. The club's Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha took a dim view, citing "fundamental differences in perspective" between himself and Pearson as the reason for a parting of the ways.

Two weeks later, Claudio Ranieri came into replace him at the King Power and the rest, as they say, is history.

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri with the Premier League trophy in 2015/16

Antonio Conte - Chelsea (Departed July 13, 2018)

In Conte's first season in charge of Chelsea, he led the Blues to the Premier League title before going on to win the FA Cup the following season.

However, he had missed out on Champions League qualification, with his side slumping to fifth in 2017/18 and despite knowing he was on his way out, he turned up for pre-season training before being relieved of his duties.

Once again, disputes over player recruitment were at the heart of the issue, with tensions having surfaced the previous summer. Conte disagreed with some of the club's transfer business, with his preferred duo of Harry Kane and Kyle Walker overlooked in favour of Alvaro Morata and Davide Zappacosta.

His dropping of Diego Costa by text was also thought to have angered the Chelsea hierarchy.

It was the sixth time in eight seasons the Premier League's title-winning manager had left his job by the following summer - if not earlier.

Antonio Conte, Tottenham vs Leicester

Conte went on to rebuild his reputation in Serie A with Inter Milan before returning to the Premier League with Tottenham.

However, given his volatile nature and Daniel Levy's reputation, you wouldn't put it past the Italian gaining a second entry on to this list of mid-summer sackings.

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