Managers get sacked. That’s just a part of life in the Premier League, so much so that most bookmakers offer odds on the “Sack Race” throughout the season alongside more traditional wagers. While it took a bit longer than usual for the first sacking of the year, once it happened a number of other managerial dominoes followed, making this one of the more interesting seasons for the men in charge in recent memory.
Just days before the first sacking of the season, Gambling.com took a look at the standing of all the managers in the eyes of the bookies, putting Leicester’s Nigel Pearson well in front at 3/1. The article also had Crystal Palace’s Neil Warnock at a relatively safe 20/1. As it played out, Pearson is still in charge while Warnock led the way to the front of the unemployment line, to be followed by the Alan’s, Pardew and Irvine. Irvine’s dismissal was expected, but Warnock and Pardew leaving their posts was at least some measure of surprising, and together serve to create one of the more intriguing subplots from the season so far.
Warnock’s second stint leading Crystal Palace was marked by a de-evolution from successful formations, poor signings, and worse play, and the club currently sits in the bottom three. Fans were calling for his head well before he was let go, and finally the results on the pitch became so bad that the hierarchy agreed. That in and of itself was, obviously, not surprising.
What was, however, was his replacement. Former Palace player Pardew took over Newcastle in 2010 and has largely been a success there. Just this year his resurgent side dealt Chelsea their first loss in the Premier League and performed well enough in the month of November for Pardew to be named Premier League Manager of the Month. So why in the world would he leave a team comfortably in the top 11 and within spitting distance of European qualification next year for a side fighting relegation? Money, unsurprisingly.
The manager cited the strain that comes with running a club with top-end ambitions and finances that fail to meet that standard as his primary motivation for the move. Pardew has stayed otherwise quiet regarding the switch, preferring to get to the work of managing his new team, who won 4-0 in his first game at the helm against Dover Athletic in their January 2nd FA Cup match.
That is just the first chapter in this developing story, with many obvious ones yet to be written. Will Pardew be able to lead his team out of relegation danger? Who will take over at Newcastle? How might all affect the financial situation at Newcastle? Where will these teams be on February 11th when they meet head-to-head?
Those are just some of the queries facing the sides going forward in what could prove to be one of the most intriguing subplots of a season that has been relatively lacking in drama thus far.