Managerial departures: Analysing the art of the club statement

Former Huddersfield manager David Wagner
David Wagner was given quite the eulogy by Huddersfield owner Dean Hoyle

By mutual consent: three words that have become the lexicon of club statements announcing the departure of a manager.

Announcements are usually contained in four or five succinct paragraphs, loaded with well-worn phrases and often accompanied with a photo of a stand/corner flag.

We are all familiar with the stock style, so some credit goes to Huddersfield owner Dean Hoyle who took great pains to explain on Monday that "mutual consent" actually meant mutual consent in his club's statement revealing David Wagner's exit.

That was one sentence contained in an incredible nine paragraphs of heartfelt quotes as the Terriers chief broke with tradition.

With that in mind, we decided to examine some recent club statements to see if they stuck with 'the template' or went off script like Hoyle:

Aitor Karanka (Nottingham Forest) - 11 January

Aitor Karanka
Aitor Karanka was "released" from his contract, having been chained to it with the key hidden

Paragraphs: Four

Photo: A stand at City Ground.

Content: The Championship side's statement was rigid in its structure. There is no hiding behind 'mutual consent' as the club state the Spaniard asked to be released from his contract.

But Forest do not veer too far from the familiar by stating their full name, "Nottingham Forest Football Club" and by pulling out, "both parties wish each other every success for the future" and "will take charge of first-team affairs".

Steve Watson (Gateshead) - 10 January

Paragraphs: 13

Photo: A glum looking Watson and assistant manager Micky Cummins (who also left).

Content: The National League side produced a lengthy statement without quotes. They are very matter of fact about why both Watson and Cummins left for York City, who play a level below Gateshead in English football's sixth tier.

It is fairly non-standard for a managerial departure announcement but at least they allow themselves the use of "immediate effect", just in case you were confused as to whether the duo were going to hang around the club for a while longer.

Nathan Jones (Luton) - 9 January

Nathan Jones
The only thing missing from Nathan Jones' departure was a party with fireworks

Paragraphs: 13

Photo: A thumbs-up from the man in question at the end of a match.

Content: This reads almost as if the Hatters have appointed Jones, such is the buoyant tone teamed with a plethora of impressive stats about the man who decided to leave the club for Championship side Stoke.

There is the obligatory, "We wish Nathan [insert any other name] every success in his future career." But the statement ends with: "It's a great time to be a Hatter, so business goes on as usual. COYH!"

Gary Rowett (Stoke) - 8 January

Paragraphs: Four

Photo: A Bet 365 Stadium stand viewed from a staircase landing.

Content: The antithesis of Luton's statement. Sticking with 'the template' the Potters announced they had "terminated" the contract of Rowett - so often preferred instead of sacked, even though it sounds colder.

They also tick boxes by thanking "Gary and his staff for their efforts" and, of course, state that a new team will be in charge of "first-team affairs".

John Sheridan (Carlisle United) - 4 January

Paragraphs: Seven

Photo: A close-up of a club-branded corner flag.

Content: Tinged with anger in the first paragraph, although it reverts to form thereafter.

The loaded statement opens with: "The board of Carlisle United is very disappointed to announce that it has reluctantly agreed to accept the resignation of John Sheridan, who will be leaving the club with immediate effect."

Possibly biting his tongue, chairman Andrew Jenkins offers his three paragraphs' worth, with the standard conclusion of, "I would like to thank him for his commitment, and we all wish him the best of luck for the future."

And here's how it should be done...

Jose Mourinho (Manchester United) - 18 December 2018

Jose Mourinho
The emotion wasn't flowing in the statement announcing Jose Mourinho's departure

Paragraphs: Three

Photo: A corner of Old Trafford with the 'Manchester United' sign. Is the glimpse of blue sky and lit tube lighting inside the stadium a metaphor for 'life goes on'?

Content: Here it is in all its glory...

"Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club [he was sacked] with immediate effect.

"The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future.

"A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager."

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