Mark Hughes recently returned to employment to take up the Southampton job. Some weeks earlier Garry Monk was appointed manager of Birmingham City. Both were sacked earlier on in the season.
There's always lots in the press about the managerial merry-go-round from the demand-side (a club seeking out a Sam Allardyce, Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, Roy Hodgson etc. to save the day). Hughes and Monk's appointments made me think about the supply-side a little more. Namely, the pressure manager's face to resume a career when laid off. Over the course off their managerial careers Hughes has spent 3 months off on average between jobs while Monk has only had 2 months off between jobs.
The hunch is that a managers duration of unemployment will affect their prospect of re-entering the labour market. Perhaps the probability of gaining a new job will decrease after some critical threshold? In economic parlance, the duration of unemployment may be a signal to clubs looking to appoint a new boss. Simply put, a chairperson may ask…”if you haven’t been good enough for anyone else over X number of months, why are you good enough for me?”.
Perhaps managers may even withdraw from the labour market completely after failing to find a new club after a critical number of days.
Alan Curbishley comes to mind. He has been pretty much exiled since leaving West Ham United. In his own words in a 2016 interview with the Independent he recalls how “I was getting [offers from] clubs that were in trouble in the Premier League but I was waiting for the club that I thought was going to be right for me. One did come along and I thought I had it; I met the club three times. I never got it. Someone came in at the end and got the job. I basically lost my enthusiasm for it.”
He goes on to say “You do have to get back in as soon as you can, a bit like Alan [Pardew] when he went to Southampton, he suddenly ended up at Newcastle. I did think after the problems I had at West Ham, I wanted to make sure my next job was right for me and it never happened. And now I don’t think there’s any way back really but we’ll have to wait and see.”
It might be worth remembering that both demand and supply keep the merry-go-round going. The incentives for managers to remain relevant are strong.