Alan Pardew sacking removes stability from south coast

Posted by - September 2, 2010 - England, League One

Chairman goes from saint to sinner overnight

On Tuesday, Southampton lost 3-0 at home in the Johnstone Paints Trophy. On Saturday they won 4-0 away at Bristol Rovers.

Unless you have buried your head in lower league sand, you will be aware that in between these two matches, Alan Pardew has lost his job as manager, along with Wally Downes and Stuart Murdoch. Pardew had been at the helm for 13 months.

On the surface the sacking seems incredibly harsh. Pardew had the highest winning percentage of any Southampton manager since 1897. Last May he led the Saints to victory in the Johnstone Paints Trophy Final. Don’t get me wrong, this is no major honour, but it was Southampton’s first meaningful trophy since the FA Cup in 1976. Last season, with the club starting the campaign on -10 points, they finished one place off the playoffs, scoring the second most goals and conceding the second least. They lost nine games; Leeds in second lost more. Even this season,despite home defeat in the first game, they had gained a draw before Saturday’s big win.

The reaction from the fans has been apparent. The vast majority clearly feel that the chairman, Nicola Cortese, has lost the plot. Forums, local news websites, and the local area are ringing with the sound of disillusionment. Many clearly felt that Pardew was the man to finally provide a sense of true stability.

There have, however, been murmurings of discontent on the South coast. There were reports recently that some of the staff at the club’s training ground had resigned from their positions due to their lack of desire to work with Pardew. Whether these are rumours or substantiated events, Cortese’s decision is at least brave. If, as he stated on Monday, the decision was being taken to provide stability in the long term with a new dawn for Southampton, then fair play to the Italian. For what it is worth, he did help the former Premier League team stave off financial meltdown, and clearly has a strong affection for the club. Perhaps he has a successor lined up to take Southampton back to the promised land? After all, Pardew was not a Cortese appointment.

One question remains, however. Why now? Why allow a manager to spend nearly £3million in January on 13 players, to then publicly back him at the end of the season? Why say that reports in pre-season of Pardew leaving are “ill-informed” to sack him three weeks later? Why allow the manager to bring in five players in this window? Why sack a manager one day before deadline day, so there will be no chance to bring in late deals? Why sack a manager after a 4-0 away win?

Saints’ fans will hope that these questions can be answered sooner rather than later. If last night’s performance is anything to go by, the “achievement of its well known targets”, the new man has a difficult job in pleasing the chairman.

  • waggy

    from the scant information that is available you are very wide of the mark with this article. when the truth is finally in the public domain NC is likely to be a saint. too many people appear to be getting their ‘facts’ from web forums..

  • Daniel Storey

    And if so I will certainly admit so.

    I am going on the information I have from the four or five season ticket holders I spoke to. I know the dangers of web forums!

  • Hawkeye

    Pardew has been subject to certain “murmurings of discontent” at previous clubs…

    Just saying.

  • StonySaint

    Although Pardew has done a reasonable job at Saints (not that great, considering the budget he’s had for a League 1 club), this is not a football decision.
    Don’t under-estimate Cortese – he may not have a ‘football background’, but he’s one sharp cookie – and he wouldn’t sack Pardew just like that because early season results were not as good as might be expected.
    Look at Pardew’s (unofficial) history – this decision has everything to do with off-field behaviour. Libel laws and ‘confidentiality clauses’ will ensure that the real story stays under wraps, but don’t kid yourself that it’s football-related. That’s just the football establishment protecting one of it’s own.
    Cortese isn’t making many friends in the old football establishment – don’t think it bothers him too much. But he DOES seem to have Southampton FC’s best interests at heart, and that’s what matters to me.
    Pardew’s no great loss, even on the purely football front – look forward to a better man taking over.
    O’Neill? Great, but hugely unlikely – Curbishley would do fine for me if he doesn’t end up at Villa.

  • Daniel Storey

    I think you are possibly right. But that doesn’t answer the last question, why now? If things have been going on behind the scenes, I assume they started more than two weeks ago when the season started.

    If Cortese has sacked Pardew in the Summer or at the end of last season, less would have been made of it. But to let him bring in ‘his’ players and do preseason ‘his’ way just seems illogical

  • StonySaint

    Daniel, the absence of any solid information from Pardew or the club has led to fevered and frequently bizarre speculation on web forums to fill the vacuum, as you’ve no doubt found out, but trying to sift the plausible from the inane or insane has led me to think that
    a) There has been growing unrest and unease in the squad and the backroom areas for some time about Pardew’s behaviour and treatment of staff, and
    b) A specific incident took place between Saturday and Monday that forced Cortese to act immediately, and resulted in Pardew and his lieutenants being summarily dismissed.
    Again, there’s plenty of speculation as to what, and who, was involved in that incident – and it’ll probably remain as speculation, as neither side seems likely to spill the beans.
    Pardew will keep quiet to safeguard his payoff and Cortese won’t say anything as he will regard it as damaging to the club’s reputation.
    That’s why it’s happened now, not in the summer – that’s my personal (and entirely lacking in any solid evidence) take on events. It’s an interpretation that does at least make some sense of the whole unsavoury scenario.
    Anyway, onwards and, hopefully, upwards with a new man at the helm asap…..