At Christmas, spare a thought for the out-of-work football manager who has no idea when he will be employed again.

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If you're a British manager after a Premier League job, these are worrying times. Rarely have their prospects looked as bleak. Where once they had no chance of getting one of the 'Big Six' clubs, they are now struggling to even get one in the top flight.

Of the five home-grown Premier League managers, only one - Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace - took control of a Premier League team. The others, Sean Dyche (Burnley), Eddie Howe (Bournemouth), Chris Hughton (Brighton) and Neil Warnock (Cardiff City), all got there through promotion from the Championship.


Even for managers with impressive CVs, there is no guarantee that, when a Premier League vacancy arises, they will make the shortlist.

When Fulham sacked Slavisa Jokanovic, they turned to Claudio Ranieri. The 67-year-old Italian's title success at Leicester was comfortably the finest achievement of any out-of-work coach with Premier League experience. Nobody complained David Moyes was overlooked.

When Southampton sacked Mark Hughes, they chose Austrian Ralph Hasenhuttl after he impressed with RB Leipzig. Given the Saints have won their past two games, nobody on the south coast is pining for the proven pragmatism of Sam Allardyce.

Where once this generation of British managers were competing with each other for points, they are now fighting over scraps, written off by a new breed of supporter as old fashioned and out of touch.

Perceptions matter - why else would Manchester United name Ole Gunnar Solskjaer caretaker manager rather than former captain Steve Bruce, who has a far better managerial record?

Well, United fans under the age of 30 have heard of Solskjaer. Bruce stopped playing in the mid-1990s and had just been sacked by Aston Villa.

For the first time in three decades, Allardyce, Bruce, Martin O'Neill, Moyes, Hughes, Alan Pardew and Harry Redknapp will all be spending Christmas with their families knowing there is a good chance they will still be out of work this time next year.

Where once they could lose a job and smile as they banked the severance package, confident their past achievements would lead to another offer within a few months, they now face the prospect that their career in the dugout is over. Certainly, Premier League owners and chief executives are wary of appointing someone they fear fans will roll their eyes at.


But Allardyce will always back himself to save a club from relegation - and there is bound to be at least one club at the bottom of the table who decide to change manager - but so, too, would O'Neill and Moyes. These are slim pickings and with Tony Pulis finding things tough at Middlesbrough, they could even be joined by another of their old sparring partners on the job hunt soon.

Moyes did a solid job at West Ham last season, but the Scot was not exciting enough to be given it long-term, perceived as a manager who steadied the pulse rather than raised it. Moyes has hinted he may look to international football instead.

O'Neill is keen to return to club management after a disappointing end to an otherwise successful five years with Ireland. But having turned down the Stoke job in March, he may be forced to look at the second tier.

Bruce will return but it will be in the Championship again with Sheffield Wednesday. He remains appealing as he has won promotion to the Premier League more times than anyone else - four.

As for the rest, they may even struggle to persuade a Championship club. At least Redknapp's successful participation in I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! has given him another avenue to explore.