Itâ€™s that time of year again â€“ Premier League chairmen get incredibly Scrooge-like and cast the manager adrift, right in the midst of a Christmas fixture pile-up.
First to jump this season is perennial puppet master Mike Ashley at Newcastle. In fact it was strange that no one had sacked earlier but that seemed to be down to everyone in the Premier League struggling all at once.
What was most shocking was it was Chris Hughton who won first place in the Premier League sack race. Great results such as 6-0 against Aston Villa and thoroughly pummelling bitter rivals Sunderland 5-1, didnâ€™t count for much for Hughton and he was well and truly shafted.
Reports suggested that Ashley had already made his mind up and was waiting for a slight dip in form before sacking Hughton and appointing Alan Pardew as his replacement.
Pardew with all due respect, isnâ€™t a terrible manager but itâ€™s the timing of the decision and the general bad taste it left in the mouth of fans and pundits.
Itâ€™s not the first time heâ€™s made a big call, most notably getting rid of â€œBigâ€ Sam Allardyce in 2008, when he wasnâ€™t doing a bad job either.
This leads us nicely onto sacking No 2. Big Sam became the first cull of the new Venkyâ€™s regime at Blackburn, with the board claiming the proponent of defensive football was no longer in their plans.
Once again, this decision shocked everyone. Big Sam had become part of the furniture at Rovers, and whatever you may think of Allardyce rugged, and at times visually impairing style of direct football, it gets results. Allardyce has a reputation of turning unfashionable clubs into well-oiled machines.
With paper talk of Diego Maradona or Alan Shearer being his replacement, itâ€™s clear that the new board want a stylish brand of football, which isnâ€™t going to happen overnight like they seem to expect. Or the fact that those suggestions arenâ€™t exactly guys with managerial pedigree. It was a foolish decision that could ultimately cost Blackburn a Premier League place.
Chairmen seem to have become increasingly trigger-happy over the past few seasons and you begin to wonder if thereâ€™s any point in having a manager installed. It seems to have become rare to see a chairman actually trust a manager during a slump. There are good chairmen in the league; just itâ€™s become increasingly scarce number.
Question is who is next? Avram Grant reportedly has 3 games to save himself as West Ham boss, and the person I thought would be sacked first this season, looks a dead man walking. Maybe this call is justifiable. Grantâ€™s not got results or played particularly good football but whoâ€™d want the job or the chance to become a survival saviour?
The managerial chairman tug of war rears its head every season but this campaignâ€™s isolated incidents have made you realise how fickle chairmen can be.
What weâ€™d give to see someone given 20+ years in the job a la Alex Ferguson. Only then could a team truly reap the dividends of vast amounts of silverware. Still itâ€™s the industry we buy into nowâ€¦
Female First – Chris Mayer