Sacking season begins …

Chris Hughton: first of the Yuletide sackings

They say that Christmas is not a good time for England Premier League coaches and the season of the pantomime opened its curtains last week with Newcastle Uniteed provided the first entertainment with the sacking of Chris Hughton.

The Magpies’ record since Hughton brought them back to the top flight had been satisfactory, with wins coming against Aston Villa, Sunderland, Arsenal and Chelsea. However, losses to Blackpool, Stoke and Blackburn seemed to suggest that Newcastle’s players under the former Irish international only raised their game when they felt like it.

Nonetheless, it’s ironic that the Newcastle United board thought they needed an individual with  “more managerial experience” to take the club forward, when you consider that proprietor Mike Ashley has admitted in the past that he never felt he had the knowledge to own a club in the first place. And so without the knowledge, he’s relied on his “impulses,” which means that Pardew is now the sixth Newcastle manager in three years.

One of those, Sam Allardyce, yesterday become the subject of Act II of the Christmas panto when he was fired by the new owners of Blackburn Rovers.

Venky’s, the Indian poultry conglomerate which acquired the club from The Walker Trust just 25 days ago, has brought on board sports agency Kentaro to help with upcoming transfers. That didn’t seem to go down too well with Allardyce, and the diluting of his input in to the matter looks like it trigged the decision by Venky’s and its female chairperson, Anuradha Desai.

So who’s next? The smart money is on Avram Grant being catapulted from the stage at bottom-of-the-table West Ham before any turkey is cut.


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