Middlesbrough need to give Jonathan Woodgate time and not throw him on the managerial merry-go-round like Arsenal and Everton did – Sue Smith

We are into that not-so-wonderful time of the year for football managers. The sacking season is well and truly underway.

Pressure game: Jonathan Woodgate needs the chance to bring some experienced players in to turn around the fortunes of ailing Middlesbrough and ease the pressure on himself. (Picture: PA)

The league programmes will soon be halfway through and chairmen are taking stock.

Unai Emery lost his job at Arsenal last week, and on Thursday Everton sacked Marco Silva. Watford are looking for their third manager this season. Others will be feeling the heat, like Middlesbrough’s Jonathan Woodgate.

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I would like to see Woodgate given more time. He is a young manager with some great players who has not been helped by injuries.

But Marco Silva had run out of excuses at Sue Smiths beloved Everton. (Pictures: PA)

He lost quite a few experienced figures in the summer – including Aiden Flint, Stewart Downing and John Obi Mikel – and replaced them with players for the future. His job is to develop them, and that takes time. It is difficult when a team is struggling.

Boro were probably expecting a quiet season in mid-table, not a Championship relegation battle.

Would it be best to change before Christmas so a new manager has chance to make his mark, or is it only fair to give Woodgate the chance to bring in some loan players himself?

It is easy for outsiders like me to say he deserves more time, but owners know the cost of relegation and the fans who travelled to Elland Road last week are entitled to expect better than they got in the 4-0 defeat.

Arsenal also disposed of manager Unai Emery (Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire)

As an Everton fan, maybe I looked at the situation at Goodison Park slightly differently, but it just felt like time for a change. Things did not seem to be progressing and the players did not appear to be responding to Silva’s messages.

What I saw of it on Wednesday was one of the worst Everton derby performances I can remember. It felt to me like Everton should have made a change during the international break but Silva was only clinging onto the job because the people in charge could not agree on what to do next.

You get the impression the owner, Farhad Moshiri, is focussed on expansive football but my view is that when a team is in the relegation zone, needs must. Plenty of Everton fans probably disagree.

That is no doubt one of the reasons Neil Warnock was talked about as a possible replacement for Woodgate, although Boro were quick to let it be known they are not looking to go down that route.

That is what makes changing a manager so difficult.

What do fans and owners actually want?

Often they cannot agree.

Woodgate and Silva were brought in because many fans were unhappy with the style of play but some might now be thinking the sort of quick fixes Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce can provide are needed.

I wrote in a previous column about the dangers of clubs trying to change their approach mid-season but you can see why some are tempted. Jose Mourinho is very different to Mauricio Pochettino, but has had an instant impact at Tottenham Hotspur.

So far at least, Manchester United are sticking to their belief in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer despite results, and Boro are trying to do the same.

Having popular ex-players in charge probably buys clubs extra time, but it will not be limitless.

Like Arsenal, Everton have gone down that route with their caretaker. The way he played, his commitment, work-rate and goals mean Duncan Ferguson will always be held in high esteem. I cannot remember many interviews with him, so it will be interesting to see how he copes with the media demands but he has had some good managers around him, and probably has a few ideas about things he would do differently.

I see this as a short-term appointment which should keep the players motivated while Everton decide what direction to go in.