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Pardew sacking at Saints raises eyebrows

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Paul Fletcher | 12:39 UK time, Monday, 30 August 2010

Alan Pardew described Saturday's 4-0 victory at Bristol Rovers as a big relief, but it obviously wasn't enough to persuade the decision makers at Southampton that the 49-year-old should remain in charge at the League One club.

A press release landed in my inbox at 0821 BST on Bank Holiday Monday morning informing me that Pardew, assistant Wally Downes and goalkeeping coach Stuart Murdoch had all been "relieved of their duties with immediate effect".

They had been sacked, in other words, just three games into the League One season.

The club statement was just six paragraphs in length and, bizarrely, started by announcing that the club would be appointing a new manager and coaches rather than explaining that the previous ones had left.

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I tweeted the news, asking what people thought about it. The reaction wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement of the club's decision. Bonkers, disgraceful, ridiculous and gutted were a few of the words that featured in the replies.

Saints, red-hot pre-season favourites to win League One, haven't exactly made a blistering start to the new campaign. But four points from three games isn't a disaster either and surely does not merit sacking your manager at such an early point in the campaign. Especially when the club's previous result was such an emphatic victory.

Chairman Nicola Cortese has made no secret of his desire to transform Saints into an established Premier League club. I met him last year and found him to be a calm and reasoned man but he is also fiercely ambitious and regards automatic promotion as a minimum requirement for the current season.

However, is Pardew's dismissal not so much a reflection on this season's results but the consequence of problems behind the scenes at the club's Staplewood training ground?

Saints started the process of overhauling their coaching staff last season. Les Reed was appointed as head of the club's football development and support centre in April and Martin Hunter was brought in as under-21 coach in July. Stewart Henderson, who worked for the club for 20 years in a variety of coaching positions, left in July as part of the restructuring.

I have been told that several support staff based at the club's training ground have recently resigned, claiming an inability to work with Pardew.

At first glance the decision to sack Pardew makes Saints look ridiculous, but if Pardew's dismissal is the consequence of off-the-field issues then that would at least partially explain why it comes just two days after a comprehensive 4-0 victory.

There was a lot of speculation that Pardew was going to be fired at the end of last season. Pardew was appointed in July 2009 and his first campaign in charge had seen Saints win the Johnstone's Paint Trophy but miss out on the play-offs by one place despite starting the season on minus 10 points.

Back in May, Cortese described reports of Pardew's imminent demise as "ill informed". A source close to Cortese told me that the chairman mounted a strong defence of Pardew's position at a time when owner Markus Liebherr, who tragically died in early August, wanted a change of manager.

Pardew was allowed to strengthen his squad over the summer, bringing in the likes of Ryan Dickson, Frazer Richardson and Danny Butterfield.

Only last week the club signed Brazilian midfielder Guiherme do Prado from Cesena and Pardew stated his intention to further bolster his squad before the transfer window closed on Tuesday.

Again, it would be extremely short-sighted if the club allowed Pardew to mould his squad over the summer only to sack him so early into the new season. Unless, of course, Cortese had decided that he was wrong not to dismiss Pardew in May and had now acted swiftly to ensure that any new manager would still have the vast majority of the campaign in front of him.

There had been rumours that Cortese and Pardew did not see eye to eye, but the former Saints boss has yet to comment on his dismissal.

Either way, sacking Pardew is unlikely to be a popular decision with the majority of the club's supporters. It hints at either a club strong enough to resist the pressure of public opinion or one that is out of touch with its fanbase.

The press release announcing Pardew's dismissal stated: "We recognise that frequent changes to the football management are unlikely to assist in the winning of trophies and promotions."

The suggestion is that Cortese, who arrived at the club shortly after Pardew's appointment, is hopeful of making a long-term appointment.

On the one hand, Southampton is an extremely attractive proposition for a prospective manager - a financially stable club with a good squad, a sound infrastructure and a large fanbase.

But the fact that Pardew has been sacked so early in the season might make a prospective new manager think twice before joining the League One side.

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  • Comment number 1.

    It's a preposterous decision and Cortese better have a good reason and a good enough replacement lined up or there will be backlash from the fans. We should consider ourselves lucky that a Premiership level manager was prepared to drop to League One with Southampton. Some of the names linked with the job are just shocking. It's like looking through the menu at a vegetarian restaurant. And some of them are ridiculous, I think some people are living in cloud cuckoo land. Martin O'Neill at 6/1?! Dream on. One name that has been linked is Gianfranco Zola. I would love to have Zola at the club. He is young as managers go, and he will be eager to prove himself as a manager after West Ham. I think West Ham was too big a job too soon for a manager as inexperienced as Zola, like Paul Ince at Blackburn. But League One, with the promotion favourites, could be the making of him. If he can get Saints up this season it will kick start his managerial career and eventually, when the time comes, he'll get another job like West Ham, and hopefully have more success.

    Anyway, for now, let's just focus on Swindon tomorrow. I'm hopeful we might have a new manager in place for the Rochdale game on saturday though.

    Thank you Alan Pardew.

  • Comment number 2.

    You win 4-0 and your sacked!
    Who's safe?
    Funnily enough, the more bizarre football is the more addictive it is.
    Who needs soaps?

  • Comment number 3.

    Alan Pardew has been recycled so much, I can bet my house on some unfortunate club hiring, and firing him within the next year or so..

  • Comment number 4.

    It's a poor decision that has dissapointed me as a saints fan. I thought our new regime would bring us stability and that success would follow. It's a huge concern that once again managers and other clubs will look upon us as a revolving door of mediocrity. Looking at the names being linked with the club they could well be right to do so.

  • Comment number 5.

    Preposterous? If no-one can work with the guy then NOT to sack him is preposterous!

  • Comment number 6.

    Firstly thanks to Alan Pardew for being the most successful manager in Saints history as far as wins per games played ratio goes. He seemed well matched to Saints and I like the players he brought in and the style of football played.

    Can't get my head around this sacking, unless either Cortese has someone lined up to take over immediately who he thinks is clearly better than Pardew. Or perhaps even Pardew has another job he's on his way to?

    There were rumours of problems behind the scenes between the manager and the Chairman, but what club doesn't have these rumours? Seems strange timing when I presume it was Pardew who bought in the 3 or 4 players signed in the summer?

    The timing is also crass on the back of the awful news about Markus Liebherr's death. The club was unified by the shock and outpouring of affection to Markus and now the fanbase is splintered yet again.

    It seems impossible for Southampton FC to go more than a single season without major turmoil. Personally, I'm sick of it. The club has been a circus for far too long and just when we thought we had stability, this happens.

  • Comment number 7.

    Being a Carlisle Unitd supporter ive got mixed emotions about this decision. In a way im pleased that a rivbal team has lost a very influential manager but in another way im disappointed and sad about this ridiclious decision by the Saints board.

    Pardew has proven himself over the years to be a very very good manager (memories of the FA cup final with West Ham v Liverpool come to mind) and to be only 1 place off the play-offs last year, with a 10 point deduction, proves that he has it still.

    unfortunatly i saw Carlisle draw and then loss against Saints last season and you could see how important Pardew was to them both times.

    Its sad for league one is lossing these top managers.

  • Comment number 8.

    I feel a bit sorry for the bloke,they just won 4-0 away and if they won their game in hand they would be in the play offs,it just vindicates the chapter in Len Shackleton's book " The Average Director's Knowledge of Football" which was just a blank page

  • Comment number 9.

    I liked him, and thought he did a great job. Last season was amazing, and the idea of him leaving for preforming badly after we won the JPT and got within 1 point of the playoff was bizzare.

    However, and after the history of Chairmen such as Lowe it does sound odd to say, but on this decision i support Cortese the chairman over the manager. I would have said Managerial stability was the most important thing for our clubs footballing future, but business stability can't be overlooked. A year ago the club almost ended, and we were saved by a banker and a owner who saw the opportunity for business success that would go hand in hand with our return to the premier league and our footballing success. We have a new academy and he is improving infrastructure with the aim of us being back at the top in 5 or so years. This should be supported, and if Pardew is seen as too small time then so be it. As i said i liked him, but as Saints Fans we should back the guys who saved us from extinction, and have ambition on a larger and longer scale.

    Hopefully this season won't take a nasty turn and we can get on with Cortese's ambitiously efficient plans smoothly.

    Ps. Fingers crossed for O'Niel

  • Comment number 10.

    I feel for Saint's fans, but also for Pardew it's the second time he's been sacked for no apparent decent reason.

    As a hammers fan he got us to a cup final and was probably the best final ever played even though we lost.

    He won the Saint's a trophy... cannot recall off the top of my head but
    (when was your previous winning trophy) and was only a point from promotion.

    So who would the Saint's like as a new manager ?

  • Comment number 11.

    * Neill

  • Comment number 12.

    I'd be interested to know where the information about supposed unrest at Southampton's training ground came from, as it sounds like the sort of thing put out by a PR department trying to deflect heavy criticism.

  • Comment number 13.

    Southampton will get what they deserve for panicking so early in the season. The team wills truggle now as the players will feel the pressure from what has happened. Promotion? Lucky to finish mid table.

  • Comment number 14.

    This keeps us in the news - by finding new ways to be the strangest club about.

  • Comment number 15.

    I was very sorry to hear of the demise of Alan Pardew.Southampton appear not to have recovered yet from the Rupert Lowe era.I wonder what Le Tiss is thinking?? Very pleased to read the comment of Joan-Paul Cat @ 1.53pm today.As a Sunderland Supporter of over 60 years & the owner of the `Shack` book since 1956 I was very happy to hear that Shacks very true statement so long ago is still remembered.

  • Comment number 16.

    Pretty gutted with the sacking of Pardew here. He did a good job last season and he certainly doesn't deserve to be shown the door. Well, that is based on what I know which was purely how we played football - Not behind the scenes relationships.

    Like said earlier in this thread, we were saved by Liebhur and Cortese just over a season ago, so I think we need to at least give Cortese a chance to justify his decision.

    As for O'Neill; no chance. I will be prepared to eat my hat if we get him. As for the rest of the names involved, only Southgate stands out as someone I would like to see, devloping his style and confidence over 5 or so years, then seriously challenging if we get to the Prem with him. If they are looking for long term replacements, blood someone now, sit tight with them, and reap the rewards when they become more experienced.

  • Comment number 17.

    If Pardew was having problems with the Chairman, there is not a chance in hell of Martin O'Neill being the manager under the same control.

    Mind you, there's not a chance in hell of O'Neill being the next Saints manager anyway. But the point is, the man replacing Pardew has to be 100% switched on to "Cortese's Vision" or he won't last long either.

  • Comment number 18.

    Now then - thanks for the comments so far. It certainly caught me by surprise when the news broke this morning.

    Zootopian (post 12) - asks a very interesting question. Are the rumours of training ground unrest nothing more than PR spin by the club? I certainly hope that Pardew has his say - I think it will be very interesing to hear his take on events.

    If it is spin, then why sack Pardew now, after a 4-0 win?

    What I have not been able to find out is when exactly the decision to sack Pardew & co was made. That might shed some light on a few things.

  • Comment number 19.

    Paul, Pardew was speaking about Saints next game this Tuesday directly after the Rovers match, so I can only presume things came to a head on Saturday night/Sunday Morning.

  • Comment number 20.

    Paul, I can imagine the decision was made either just before Liebhur's tragic death, or just after it. However, Cortese felt he couldn't announce it so close after the tragedy.

    That's my take on it anyway.

  • Comment number 21.

    ChocolateBoxKid (post 19) - that means Pardrew didn't know before then but I guess Cortese might have made his mind up earlier.

    And what is all this talk about Martin O'Neill? Surely no chance.

    Mind you, Phil Brown was on MoTD2 on Sunday expressing his wish to return to management....

  • Comment number 22.

    I find this a disgrace.
    Cortese and Lowe are going to kill this Club.
    Cortese has banned the photgrpahers from Home Games....hoping to 'cash in' and yet I find it disgusting that they have sacked him after a win.
    Middlesbrough sacked Southgate and looked what happened, 1 point from top and then they slid down the League.
    I feel sorry for Southampton fans for the stupid berks that run this once great Club and they will be bogged down in League 1 for years to come.

  • Comment number 23.

    Didn't your 4 August blog "Can anyone stop Southampton?" start with "Shortly after the end of last season, it was widely reported that Alan Pardew was facing the sack as manager of Southampton."
    Then Markus Liebherr died unexpectedly... So what are you raising your eyebrows about?

  • Comment number 24.

    I can't be the only Saints fan who feels one day Nicola Cortese will peel back his skin to reveal he was Rupert Lowe all along? *shudders*

  • Comment number 25.

    The first two home league games were enough to set the alarm bells ringing and I thought it obvious that Pardew was a dead man walking.

    I'm actually more surprised that anyone is actually surprised!

  • Comment number 26.

    I was quite a fan of Phil Brown in his time at Hull in the Championship and then for half a season in the Premiership. However, he seemed to be unable to excel when the pressure grew on him.

    Still, Ide like to see him at Saints compared to the other ridiculous names in the hat.

  • Comment number 27.

    Pardew's sacking is madness. Be interested to hear what he says when he does a press release.

  • Comment number 28.

    Lowe used to be very big on "gagging clauses" to stop managers from speaking about the club for a good few years after they left via "mutual consent" (yeah right), so I wouldn't be surprised if Pardew has been paid off the remainder of his contract with a clause that he keeps quiet about events this weekend.

    However, Pardew seems to have a lot of friends in the media, so you feel that his side of the story will come out via the old "sources close to Alan said..." route.

  • Comment number 29.

    @22 Yes, Middlesbrough did sack Southgate and do poorly, but don't forget that Norwich sacked Gunn after one match and ended up winning League 1

  • Comment number 30.

    I'd take him at Hartlepool!

    Such a strange decision.

  • Comment number 31.

    If Nicola Cortese is a new Rupert Lowe then I welcome the news because Nicola Cortese has something Rupert never had: access to large sums of money. Lowe never had a penny but he was a ruthless chairman who wheeled and dealed to keep Saints in the top flight for as long as he could.

  • Comment number 32.

    I find the whole situation to be very strange. As a forest fan living in Southampton then club politics is something I am used to but why back a manager with money through the summer, let him sign players until the transfer window and then sack him?

    Ok they didn't get promoted last season but Pardew has been a success at the club (bearing in mind they started last season on minus 10 points in a league with big spenders like Leeds and Norwich) and winning a cup in the process.

    It is sad that he didn't get on with other non playing staff but unfortunately that happens at a lot of clubs. Interesting that Les Reed is involved as I seem to remember that Charlton had a similar situation when Dowie was sacked and he took charge afterwards.

  • Comment number 33.

    When Pardew was appointed by Cortese it was on his experience at Managing at the highest level but I feel Cortese then realised quite early on that whilst Pardew was a good Manager he did not demonstrate the qualities required to take us as far forward as first thought.

    Pardew is a good man and can be proud of his achievements at Southampton FC but he was never the man to take us all the way. He did not have the tactical nous or demonstrate the ability to take us to the higher level. That is of course only my opinion but one it seems shared by Cortese.

    Informed sources indicated to me that Pardew wanted out but was not prepared to just walk. His body language at interviews was telling. However he appeared a proud man and honest. He would have been giving the job 100% despite his reservations.

    We now have to hope Cortese listens to experienced football advisors and picks the right man for the job. It needs to be a man who has a good track record at lower level and shows ability to go all the way. We do not want a high profile Manager who has not proved himself at this level. He has to be someone who has the ability to get us promotion in this league and grow into the job as we reach higher levels.

    I would be looking at Eddie Howe of Bournemouth but with one big reservation. He did fine without money and with a limited player pool. How would he perform with Southampton’s wealth ant talent pool?

    Down the road at Brighton we have Gus Poyet. Another rising Managerial star but does he have the temperament to work with Cortese?

    We need to support Cortese at this time. We need to give him space. He holds the purse strings. He is the key to success or failure at Saints. If he goes the money will likely go with him. We will be sold and I would hate to see an owner with limited funds just trying to boost his ego running a football club. Cortese has an ego but it is ambition not wanting to be seen at the head of a football club with his toy.

    My best wishes to Pardew for the future. Some magical moments but likewise some real frustration at times.

    As for the strange timing I wonder how much that has to do with only putting on our new signing with a few minutes to go. Was that a final reminder to Cortese who picks the players and team on the pitch? Was it the final straw Cortese was waiting for? Who knows, we can only speculate.

  • Comment number 34.

    Here take my gun and shoot yourself in the foot. right, now shoot the other foot please!

  • Comment number 35.

    Alan Pardew was a likeable Manager and deserves credit for his part in the progress and development of Southampton Football Club. Disappointed at Bristol Rovers that he did not wait at the half way line with all the players to applaud and salute the loyal fans that had travelled to the game.He would have got a rousing reception back after the footballing display.It was all just rush away to the changing rooms.

    He also had his share of misfortune recently - not playing against MK Dons which would have elevated the league position with an away win and unlucky with Barnard hitting the post / bar when Saints should have won against Leyton Orient and got a draw against Bolton.

    His weaknesses were mainly footballing. He has his favourites - Connolly - who is unlikely to score many if more than a couple all season. He commented recently that Jason Puncheon played a blinder - well he was obviously watching a different game to me - I would have dropped him next game and got him on the training ground for more shooting practice. He had Gully Do Prado at his disposal - but took an awful lot of pressure from the crowd to get him on for 5 minutes are just examples.

    I would have spent the money on a 3rd established Striker and would still use Barnard as a Super Sub to nick a goal later on in the game.

    Currently Saints Team is still dysfunctional with the players used to playing to Rickie and not always passing to Barnard which means Lee has to work extremely hard every game. Lee and Rickie have different plus and minus points and did not produce the goal flurry at the end of last season when playing together. In fact it was wasteful with Rickie providing and Lee not always hitting the back on the net.

    If Saints want Barnard to score - then it has to be inside the box and did to pressurise and deliver to him in that area - otherwise it is more of the same ... hiiting the post or keeper saves or misses the target.

    With Antonio and Papa Waigo gone - at Home Pardew looks like he does not have any options on the bench when Plan A does not deliver. Alan needed needed to think that through in the Summer. Truthfully he has done well but looked recently as if he had run out of steam / passion and ideas to deliver the ambitions of the club.

    The Team are very slow on the break - and they gather the ball - it seems
    in slow motion that the opposition get into position and then the ball is passed - no runners - needs to improve.

    Finally at set pieces like corners - Saints are vulnerable and always look likely to concede.

    Overall, wish Alan Pardew well - nice guy - did deliver last season - bit unlucky this season - could have done with more rub of the green ; however, got bogged down in the complexities of the footballing decisions and could not see the way forward especially with the pressures of playing at home. Need the right Manager now to deliver Championship and then Premier League Football.

  • Comment number 36.

    Initally I thought this was a wind up! If they were going to do it they should have done it at the end of last season.

    But lucking at the facts, had it not been for the people running the club doing it badly and getting into administration then they'd have been in the playoffs last season! To finish 1 point off with a 10 point deduction was amazing work!

    This season has hardly started, so it must be an off field issue, but if it is because he's hard to work with then why hire a "prickly" manager in the first place?

  • Comment number 37.

    There are some managers that one struggles to find any good reason why they continue to get employed in the first place-Pardew,Dowie,Curbishley,Sanchez,Laws,Alladyce,Mccarthy.All appallingly inept tactically and incapable of producing sides that play watchable football.I see no reason to be upset at Southampton's decision to get rid of mediocrity.It is good for football that this lack of quality is moved out and away.

  • Comment number 38.

    Eddie Howe has worked wonders at Bournemouth and is certainly a manager to keep an eye on in the coming years. However, there was almost zero expection when he took the job at the Cherries and the pressure he would be under at Saints right away would be a totally different world to what he's been used to.

    He'd also have to deal with a squad full of experienced pro's, most of them brought in by Pardew who may not take kindly to a "fresh faced lad" ordering them about. Howe may well have the inner strength to cope with that, but it would be a huge gamble.

    Personally, I want the next manager to be the "been there and done it" type. Someone with experience of League 1, the Championship and getting promotion. Someone who plays good football and speaks honestly to the fans..... oh, I've just described Alan Pardew havn't I ? Hmmm.

  • Comment number 39.

    Talk of Martin O'Neill turning up at St. Mary's is pretty ridiculous but could it be that Alan Pardew was found out applying for the Villa job and sacked for that ;)?

    Paul, do you think that a club should announce their manager at the beginning of the season and be forced to stick with him or her ;) for the entire season and similarily if a manager walks out like O'Neill he should be forced to wait till next season before seeking re-employment in the same league? How come we have a transfer window for players but not for management? How many players on contracts are dismissed so easily when managers are just as if not more important?

  • Comment number 40.

    As a Watford Supporter i feel for Southampton Fans. Unbelievable how the board could sack a manager, not only did a good job last season with the 10 point reduction. Madness and disgraceful so early in a season.

    It's like Manchester United sacking Sir Alex or Arsenal sacking Wenger for doing a very good job.

    Sorry Southampton fans, i can't see any good manager with a proven track record taking over a league 1 club. Sorry

  • Comment number 41.

    The manager of a resource rich club like Southampton must have overall control at each level of the club. It sounds like too much empire building by those lower down the chain, refusing to let Pardew have that control. The chairman, in my opinion should have backed Pardew to have that control but maybe some personal appointments bending his ear?

    Let madness commence another football soap opera in the making.

  • Comment number 42.

    I do get the feeling that Southampton have got someone lined up.

    If the money is right maybe Martin O´Neil WILL come to St Marys.

    He´s a manager always looking for a challenge Celtic was one as Aston Villa do in which he excelled!

    For me Martin O´Neill could get us to where we want to be.

    Its the timing thats daft.

    Everyone knows we need a winger + a striker?

    Just a day before the transfer deadline is just plain daft to sack Alan Pardew(for me did really well under the cirumstances!)

  • Comment number 43.

    This club or particularly this management do not do PR spin. There may well be some problems on the training ground, but this would not have been the cause. Far too big a decision to make just 2 days before the window ends and messing up the whole of pre season for the new manager. Something major recently has broken down between the manager and the CEO. Either someone has come in for the manager and he would like to talk to them or the CEO and the manager disagree violently about the way forward. I can't see Southampton suffering because of this, they still have an abundance of riches and someone like Wise or even Billy Davis would not surprise me, but it will not be anyone unproven like Eddie Howe. One of his predecessors', currently at Doncaster may well fit the bill.

  • Comment number 44.

    Absolutely outrageous to sack a man who has the quality of Alan Pardew. A proven manager at this level when he built the foundations for Reading to play in the Premiership and a manager who knows what he is doing. I can only assume that there something has gone wrong behind the scenes. I am appalled.

  • Comment number 45.

    As a Saints fan, I think this is a ludicrous decision by the club. Sure, we had a bit of a slow start but sacking Pardew is ridiculous. I just hope that Nicola Cortese has a good replacement lined up and that this decision does not have negative consequences for our L1 campaign.
    I agree with ChocolateBoxKid, I am also sick of the turmoil at Saints every season. Why oh why can't we have a stable and successful season for once, without something going wrong or rumours doing the rounds (as there were last season)? When we get the new bloke, can we please have some stability for once?

  • Comment number 46.

    You would have thought that with the recent death of the owner, a period of stability and consolidation would have been a good idea. The sacking of Pardew at this point seems to be unwise, unplanned and panicky. I saw the recent cup game with Bolton and the team were only beaten by a world class striker getting one chance and taking it. The teams did not look two divisions apart otherwise.

    I fear that we are being dragged back to the days of Mickey Mouse Management by a bunch of Ruperts!

  • Comment number 47.

    Doesn't look like any more signings will be made before tomorrow either. We're still short in some areas so why Cortese sacks the manager a day before the transfer window ended I don't know. And AC Milan came calling about this guy last year(!)

  • Comment number 48.

    who to sack tnis poor management team?wake up fans.

  • Comment number 49.

    i heard that pardew was in talks with hull about a job there.if true i suppose this must have got him the sack.
    but i hope this does not put a dent in our push towards the championship .COME ON YOU SAINTS

  • Comment number 50.

    It is not the first time Pardew has been sacked for non-football-related reasons. I was told that his sacking from West Ham was related to extra-marital reasons. Don't know if it is true, but it certainly gets you on the wrong side of people, and there is no alternative course of action if it involves other members of the club. Either way, it is difficult to suggest the club have made a mistake without an explanation of the reason. Sometimes you never get to hear the real reason, because it is personal and maybe embarrassing.

  • Comment number 51.

    Gosh this silly football game goes from bad to worse.
    What else can one say.......

  • Comment number 52.

    Anyone who thinks that Pardew is some kind of god, will find Pardew readily agreeing with them. Those who have experienced Pardew first hand know that Pardew's monstrous ego and nastiness are the problems. Talks the talk, then walks, taking serious money with him, straight into the arms of some other mugs.

  • Comment number 53.

    Having experience what Pardew can do to a football club all I can say is it's the best thing that can ever happen to Southampton.

    I'll always appreciate him for the cup final in 2006 but sadly where Pardew is concerned it never seems to be just about footballing matters. I can't say I'm surprised at the problems behind the scenes as rumours of off field problems have followed him everywhere.

  • Comment number 54.

    This is a terrible decision, Saints wont get better manager than him. All this will do is breed discontent, the players wont be happy, and this will only put them back another year. I have a bit of a soft spot for them and saw them against Leeds earlier this year- they looked a solid club on the up. This is crazy- he must have slept with the chairmans daughter or something!

  • Comment number 55.

    Alan Pardew has been on a hiding to nothing for the past 6 months or so. Cortese said last season that if the club didn't reach the play-offs - despite the 10 point deduction - then heads would roll. I am likely to believe that Cortese was the one who wanted to give Pards the boot, and it's more likely to have been Markus Liebherr that wanted to give him more time. Now that Liebherr has passed away, leaving Cortese in charge, the inevitable has happened.

    I wouldn't be in the least surprised to see Pardew roll up at Villa Park in the not to distant future. As for Saints getting Martin O'Neil - no chance. I hope Saints won't go for the likes of Souness, Gullit, Southagate, Zola et al - I don't think they would do the trick.

    If Saints are looking for a Manager to get them promoted, they could do worse than to try & tempt Kevin Keegan to St Mary's. He has a history of getting clubs up through the divisions, he has previous links to the club, and would generate a huge buzz around the place.

  • Comment number 56.

    After just 3 games and sacked following a relatively successful last season - crazy. Game 1 , Plymouth home, losing to a team just relegated from the Championship, game 2 draw to Leyton Orient at home following the death of the owner, game 3 a thrashing of Bristol Rovers away. Hardly a surprising set of results in the circumstances.

    So Pardew is reported not to have got on with some of the old guard coaching staff, a problem probably also experienced by Harry Redknapp. Saints is not a club that takes to outsiders and still lives on its past glories (the Bates and McNemeny years etc.).

    Needs a big decision swiftly taken and this time it must be the right man. Starting on level points this time around means that anything other than promotion will be viewed as failure.

  • Comment number 57.

    Martin O Niell is overrated! Won titles at Celtic, but you only need to organise your team to win against Rangers and you;ve got the title!

    First past the post in a two horse race. Every time O'Neill is challenged he throws a hissy fit and resigns! This says a lot about his character. After all the money he spent at Villa, they're still a very ordinary team which won't win anything again this year.

    I didn't rate Pardew as a player or manager, but even he deserves better treatment than this!

    Is this anything to do with Les-the slippery loser from Charlton? I wouldn't trust that bloke as far as I could drop him, and thats not far!!!!

  • Comment number 58.

    It's all a bit of a shock and I do feel a little sorry for Mr Pardew. However, I think that there is a clue as to the reason for his dismissal in the club statement, which most people seem to have missed.

    'These targets for sustained and significant progress embrace both the First Team and the Football & Development Support Centre as integrated, co-operative units. Consequently the first team manager [and co] have been relieved of their duties with immediate effect.'

    I think that Cortese has plans for the structure of the club that Pardew perhaps wasn't so happy about - perhaps with the introduction of a Director of Football type role. My hunch is that we will see Steve Coppell unveiled in that role, with a first team coach who is happy to fit within that structure. Perhaps someone with a lower profile (or ego) is needed, such as Eddie Howe or Dean Wilkins.

    I know that many saints fans are concerned about the lack of stability, but I really do believe that Nicola Cortese is completely committed to that stability that we so badly need. The thing is, it is no good having stability with the wrong manager who is not pulling in the right direction regarding the overall club! So, whatever the reason for his departure, I am sure that the club will come out of this stronger and more stable.

  • Comment number 59.

    Sorry guys it's another Chairman wanting to pick the team, play centre forward and take all the glory....

    Forget the smokescreen of not getting on with the staff etc all r......

    What price three managers by the end of the season and then going the same way as Leeds, Newcastle, etc etc.....??

  • Comment number 60.

    Cortese did not wake up this morning and think to himself " time to sack Pards". Obviously something has been brewing for some time. I was at the L O game and plenty of fans were not happy about the team tactics, lack of a plan B and the lateness of the substitutions.Dont forget the commitment, investment and sacrifice Cortese has made to take on the dead dog that was Saints last year. Its a shock but lets all calm down, keep our nerve and see what developes.

  • Comment number 61.

    Alan is a better manager than recent results show, there are lots of clubs that will be eyeing up this situation and rubbing there hands with glee. Just look at the achievements of last season, If the people "upstairs" ran the club correctly then they would have not been deducted 10 points....saints would have romped home been promoted and Alan would have been seen as saints savior. The board need to look at themselves rather than trying to find a so many football managers are.

  • Comment number 62.

    Brian Gunn was sacked after Norwich beat Bristol Rovers 4-0, however we did lose the game before 1-7. Very strange circumstances at Southampton, hope they get a good new boss and do well, they don't belong in League 1.

  • Comment number 63.

    This does not look good to me. I was starting to believe, after years of turmoil, that SFC now has a strong leadership team with a clear plan and direction. These events may suggest that perhaps we don't.

    Yes AP did a good job last season which as a fan was one of the most hopeful, exciting and successful for years. If the plan was then to let AP go and bring in the next person to take us further forward, well OK.

    The timing of this however does not suggest a clear plan with the right man ready to take over. Why let AP make decisions, bring in new players etc and then minutes before the transfer window closes sack him and appoint someone else to sort it out with no opportunity to shape the team themselves?

    OK plans can change particularly as managers become available, but if you have a target don't you start negotiations long ago? Anyway well done to Alan Pardew and good luck to whoever the new man is. (O'Neil? Are you serious?)

  • Comment number 64.

    I thought someone would bring up Bryan Gunn's sacking. For me there are many subtle differences. Firstly he wasn't the present board's choice as manager whereas Pardew was the choice of the new owners. Unlike Pardew he had also had a very poor previous season getting us relegated.

    The main issue the Norwich board had with Gunn concerned the pre season preparations. This is not speculation by me. Chief Executive David McNally has stated this officially in print. In short there was deemed to be a lack of professionalism at the club. A 7-1 defeat and the fact that out of about 11 signings made in the summer only Holt, Nelson and Askou can be regarded as anywhere near the first team picture now.

    I thought Pardew was a professional manager who has signed some fantastic players. In Rickie Lambert, Lee Barnard, Jason Puncheon and Adam Llallana they possess a forward line which the majority of championship clubs would take in a heartbeat.

    But the beauty of this decision is that the new manager has an awful lot of time to stamp his mark on the team and make an impact. Paul Lambert was able to catch a Leeds United side who everyone (include Leeds themselves) had crowned champions in October.

  • Comment number 65.

    After being a supporter of Southampton for so many years I feel I can no longer support them.

    It might sound a strong reaction to this news, but on one hand I have lost all interest in Premiership because of Manchester City, and their approach to the game. I do not feel that I can on one hand be so vehemently against the way that one club is run, and at the same time think that it's ok for my own to act in such a way.

    There's nothing wrong with being ambitious, and I was grateful that someone stepped in to save my club, but to be honest, I'd be happy with the playoffs this year, so long as we were playing good football (which we were), as this would be an improvement.

    Southampton was my club, who were generally respected (I think) throughout the league as a club with good principles and for their time in the Premiership at least, as a good model and an example for smaller aspiring clubs. I was proud to be a Southampton supporter.

    I'm not any more. Just as I don't understand how Manchester City (and Chelsea to an extent) fans can feel satisfied with buying success (surely a hollow victory), I cannot sit and watch as Southampton employ similar, myopic and relentless, tactics to get success.

    Thanks for saving my club, but not thanks for turning it into what it has become.

  • Comment number 66.

    Sound decision by the board for both financial and footballing reasons,
    we cannot lose to Plymouth Argyle and draw with Leyton Orient and expect to get a 20k crowd for the Bolton game (that was £200k out the window) carry on like that over the season is a £5m shortfall. On the footballing front I was never convinced with Alan Pardew he seemed a bit of a control freak, we won the JPCup which was a great day but we lost momentum in the league.With regard to transfers in this season it's all full backs and if I was Mathew Harding I would have been realy de-motivated and the best full back I have seen this season at St Marys was Molyneux for Plymouth who Alan Pardew had no time for and transferred out.I wish AP all the best but this is life in the business/sport world. Who should be our next manager ? Haven't got a clue but as long as it is someone with a flexible mind and buys in to our great clubs objectives we will forget this blip. On a personal note I have followed Saints since the mid 50s when you didn't know the Manager or Chairmans names, it was all about the players ie Paine, Sydenham, Reeves, O,Brien, Conner, Huxford, Traynor, Page, Davies etc. Great days.

  • Comment number 67.

    I suspect this decision goes a lot deeper than results. You don't sack the manager purely based on aa sluggish start due to players lacking fitness and then going to Bristol Rovers and absolutely demolishing them. The way myself and other fans see it, it is a strange decision, but we cannot build a successful club on the foundation of seerious unrest off the pitch so I'm not criticising Cortese if that is the reason behind this decision. I just hope for a positive appointment who can take us forward on the pitch and keep things cool off it.

    I don't really have any strong feelngs about which individual manager to appoint, but I'll keep the faith in whoever Cortese appoints.

  • Comment number 68.

    @ 37 Curbishley a mediocre manager??? Just remind me where Charlton were when he took over, where he left them & the position they are in now. I would argue that he is a far more effective manager than O'Neill in stabilising & then building a club from nothing.
    Incidentally there seems to be a Charlton connection here with the back-room staff & a manager being unseated.

  • Comment number 69.

    I don;t know who has been responsible for drawig some of the bigger names to play for saints. Was it Pardew or Cortese? Fonte last season and Guly said they had spoken to the chairman and were impressed with direction the club is heading, and they were both players coming from impressive places.
    Would be interested to know if anyone has any links/comments on which/who has been a been responsible for the these plays cos i wouldn't want to credit Pardew with signings that were down to the chairman.
    Also, if Cortese can draw these decent name players we shouldn't write off some of the big name managers.

  • Comment number 70.

    All the short-term easy fix solutions are incredible, as in incredibly short sighted. How many of them work? Season 1988-89 my team (Chelsea) had just gone down to what is now the Championship, and were favourites to win the league. First six games produced 3 draws, 3 defeats and 3 points. If any board was entitled to panic (especially one run by Ken Bates) it would have been that one. No panic, no sackings, just a 26 game unbeaten run, a record number of points (at that time) and goals and at the end of the season a 17 point winning margin and the start of 21 years in the Premiership (so far..). I suppose Southampton want to do what Norwich did last season - they got lucky with Lambert, I doubt Saints will be so fortunate.

  • Comment number 71.

    Lots of stupid comments on here.

    Clearly the decision has not been made on the basis of results so stop bleating on about "only 3 games, 4-0" and all that rubbish.

    A manager has to fall in line with the plans for the club as a whole, if he is not doing that (and the number of clashes leading to people handing in their notice hints at it) then he has to go. Its just like if a player decide not to follow tactics on the pitch.

  • Comment number 72.

    This is the email I sent to Southampton earlier this morning:

    'I just wanted to thank you, as a Sheffield Wednesday fan for the best news this weekend when you sacked Alan Pardew. He was probably the best manager in the division you would have won the league with him. Thank you for giving us a chance to get promoted and would like to wish you well in League One in the next few seasons - up the Owls!!! (maybe a better result than our 5-0 win on Sat!!!)...once again can't thank you enough'.

    Just glad I'm not a Saints fan right now.

  • Comment number 73.

    Big mistake! Didn't Soton start last season in a similar shaky vein, only to become one of the form teams in the division,I think with the players he has signed Pardew would have done the job this season.

    I hope Southsmpton do sign an "experienced" manager, and leave other talents like Howe (and especially Tis!) to finish what they have started, & where they are supported and appreciated.

  • Comment number 74.

    Given that at least one of Pardew's previous dismissals has (allegedly) resulted in him obtaining a High Court injunction preventing the publication of certain (alleged) misbehaviour on his part, I imagine there's a lot more than meets the eye here.

  • Comment number 75.

    Pompey fan in peace. A baffling decision, imho, and I'm not convinced by the board's stated reasons for making it. I'd be inclined to agree with WeAreTheMags that this the sacking (after a decent and respectful interval for the sad passing of Mr Liebherr) Pards was going to get for his "faiure" last season, probably with a bit of Les Reed mixed in.
    Pardew has his critics, but he's no tuppenny-ha'penny manager. I can't see anyone else as an improvement, and what savvy and experienced manager is going to want to walk into the aftermath of this? Can't see O'Neill making the drop from Villa, and his form for walking when things aren't going his way is unsettling. And on that subject, pml when I saw Keegan's name suggested. How many managerial jobs has he bailed out of when the pressure's on? Just about all of 'em, I believe (one of them *twice*).

    Mind you, Sven might fancy a job...

    Sorry, Saints, but I think your best chance of Championship football next year has gone, and I'm disappointed to see it. As for Pards, I wish him well (wouldn't be at all unhappy to have him at Fratton).

  • Comment number 76.

    " if Pardew's dismissal is the consequence of off-the-field issues " .... as a West Ham fan, this has echos of familiarity but there are plenty that would have him back. As someone else above mentioned I would also like to see Zola get another chance in management.

  • Comment number 77.

    From what i have heard from certain players who have played under Pardew is that he is very difficult to talk to and struggles to motivate players who are going through lean periods and relies heavily on coaches to do these jobs.

  • Comment number 78.

    @37 - are you out of your mind.
    Mick McCarthy - multiple promotions - helped keep Wolves in the Premiership last year - the last manager to take Ireland to a major championship.

    Curbishley - hugely successful at Charlton - secured a club of that size as a consistent member of the premiership - look at what has happened to them since he has left.

    Allardyce - took Bolton to sixth in the premiership and multiple top half finishes with that club - last season took Blackburn into the top ten.

    Pardew - Promotion with West Ham - FA Cup finalist with West Ham - last seasons exploits with Southampton.

    These are good solid managers - no world beaters - but still they do more than decent jobs - thats why they still get employed. Not everyone is going to do a Wenger or a Maurinho.
    Although I have to say I pretty much agree on the rest particularly Sanchez and Laws.

  • Comment number 79.

    Re. #59. At 7:20pm on 30 Aug 2010, pablo wrote:

    "What price three managers by the end of the season and then going the same way as Leeds, Newcastle, etc etc.....??"

    You comment is laughable at best! Would that be Leeds who won promotion to the Championship last season? & my club - Newcastle - who spent ONE season in the Championship before getting promoted back to the Premier League with more than 100 points on the board?!

    Yeah, cos that would a terrible thing to happen to Saints eh..... I've lived in Southampton for more than 5 years now, and people say NUFC fans are the most deluded in the country - I beg to differ. Saints fans last night in the pub were convinced Martin O'Neil will come down here & manage the team. Trust me, he won't.

    I wish Saints well but please SFC fans, take your heads out of the clouds & think before you speak. I know you love your club but please be realistic.

    Go the same way as Newcastle..... You wish...!!

  • Comment number 80.

    Now then,

    Thanks for all your thoughts so far. There seems to be a roughly even split between those in favour of sacking Pardew and those who think it is a terrible move.

    I must admit I thought more people would be shocked and unhappy with the decision - especially given that it came so soon after a 4-0 win.

  • Comment number 81.

    @ #79: "People say NUFC fans are the most deluded in the country - I beg to differ... I wish Saints well but please SFC fans, take your heads out of the clouds & think before you speak. I know you love your club but please be realistic."

    I'm not criticising this view of Southampton supporters - if this is what you think then fair enough, and it might indeed be true that Saints fans are a delusional bunch. However, I think the sad element of this is that I really don't think they used to be. In fact, I think they could be described as some of the most realistic supporters!

    At the Dell the support for the team was never waiving, and everyone was chuffed with any improvement on a relegation battle. As I have said in a previous post, it's these rapidly developing attitudes of greed and delusion that comes with having a financial backer (and new supporters at bigger stadiums) that I'm not interested in, and I wish more supporters would be realistic and content that our club is on the right track rather than booing after 1-1 draws, demanding more money is spent, settling for nothing else than 1st place etc etc.

  • Comment number 82.

    Steve Coppell was the guest of Cortese for a home game last season when it was rumoured he was being brought in to be a "Director of Football". That could be an idea resurrected by Cortese, have Coppell overseeing a younger coach. However, Coppell's actions at Bristol City can't have done him any favours if Saints are now looking for stability.

    Paul, in reply to your point, I think the replies on here are not reflective of the feelings of most Saints fans. From the fans I've spoken to, nearly all are sad to see Pardew go.

  • Comment number 83.

    Not a saints fan but this is ridiculous is it not. Question is, who will they get that will be better than Pardew at this stage of the season? O'Neil is the only one who comes to mind but doubtful they could afford him and MON deserves a PL club not a Lge 1 outfit. sheer madness and probably a decision made in haste by someone not knowledgable about football.

  • Comment number 84.

    Will never forgive Pardew for walking out on Reading. Therefore, whilst this appears hardsh to sack him, he's beahved in the same way. The managerial merry-go-round is harsh. Ask Bristl City fans.

  • Comment number 85.

    Ah well, at least he'll always have work as a pundit to fall back on......

  • Comment number 86.

    Hart! Wow exchange a 53% win ratio with a 25% one..that's smart that...Hart is agood kids coach but a terrible manager.

  • Comment number 87.

    I tell you why most Saints fans aren't going ballistic over this decision, its the hope that Cortese isn't so stupid that he hasn't got a class replacement lined up, Howe, Zola, Southgate... but then we here that in fact its HART they have lined up.. HART!!

    The guy that has failure following him round like a bad stink. Who hasn't ever achieved anything? In charge when Pmth had thier worst start to a campaign ever, failed at Forest, Barnsley, QPR, Palace to name but a few.

    I can undertsand if Pardew was causing a rift he has to go, but a few days before end of transfer deadline? without anyone decent lined up to replace?

    Hart? Gimme a break. Mickey Mouse could take that squad of players to promotion this year, but Hart??? I seriously doubt it.


  • Comment number 88.

    Cortese seems like a sensible businessman, i cant imagine that he would come to this decision without already having a replacement in the wings unless something shocking happened sunday with AP and his assistants and Cortese just had to fire straightaway. The reason the printed press are coming up with stories is that this came as much as a shock to them as to anyone else, Saints had just thumped Bristol away from home and things were looking on the up, so the press hadnt prepared the "after a string of poor performance" stories to follow on from a dismissal. In Cortese we trust. UTS.

  • Comment number 89.


    such a poor and generic look at paul hart you gave. He was a success at palace. took over in atrocious circumstances and did well to keep them up.

    QPR it is harsh to judge him either way on. unfair to say he failed though, 5 games and left as he wouldnt put up with crap from above. They were getting through managers so you cant say he was the problem

    and at portsmouth he was a success in keeping them up though did fail when taking over permanently.

    might not be the right man for the job but disagree he failed at palace and qpr.

    Pardew would likely have led Southampton into the championship, few seem to argue this, which leads me to believe it had to be something behind the scenes causing him to be relieved of his duties.

    With my antepost money firmly on peterborough, i for one am pleased, i just hope the posh can sort out their defence!!

  • Comment number 90.

    I have not heard from Alan - but have listened to opinions and read all the blogs and am sure that he did not get on with everyone at SFC. There were some issues behind the scene at the Club - there always is.

    I reckon that after the Bristol Rovers Game he was in to a meeting after a telephone call and went 'head to head' over this seasons Teams Performance - the Players - Team Selection - Home Form and the Relief to Win Away and future Money for New Players / Players to get on Loan.

    Whatever he said and did at that meeting means we have ended up where we are now...and the Club have felt that Alan and his Staff could no longer continue in their positions.

    The Club would have been keen to get few more Option Players on Loan - they did very well last season with Papa Waigo (had pace .. could come on and always likely to get a goal) and Antonio (who ran players ragged and again hit the scoresheet at times when we wanted a goal)

    Has Alan got those type of players this season ??

    Because of events and what has happened - Saints may have missed out on an influential player to them this season in the transfer market

    The Truth is the New Manager has a hatful of talent in the squad and by intelligently using all the players I predict some good wins this season.

    I also predict Saints will continue to move up the League One Table and then not be outside the Top 6 for the rest of the Season. With that bit of Luck and the extra game they would have been been in an automatic promotion spot already.

    Alan could also have had a good season - but during the meeting I think he was blinded by his own methods - his own ideas - which I am am sure mainly were good but he was not able to see where he could improve and therefore could not see the wood for the trees to help Saints achieve Home Win after Home Win.

    There is life after Alan Pardew - Will be in the Chapel Arms Tonight so Good Luck to Saints tonight. Also lets get a good result at the weekend and start moving up the League Table. See you there !

  • Comment number 91.

    Of course there is life after Pardew, Southampton has everything going for it, but Paul Hart.. thats the life we are to look forward to..

  • Comment number 92.

    Surely this case is very obvious, Doctor Watson. Markus Liebherr, the owner who died in August, supported Pardew - despite having significant concerns about inconsistent results last season. However Cortese had much larger doubts about Pardew. With Liebherr out of the way and a pretty poor start by the Saints, and concerns about Pardew's relations with other staff, Pardew was out. Case solved, Sherlock Holmes.

    Personally I think it was the wrong decision, Pardew had a good chance of getting promotion. I would have waited another 10 games to see how things worked out. For at least 30 years that I can remember, Saints have usually started the new season very weakly. It is just in their DNA. Normally we don't get going until second half of September.

  • Comment number 93.

    Just back from the game - it was a poor performance tonight ! Nobody wanted Alan Pardew to go - but now he has the Club need to install an even better Manager than him.

    Technically, Dean Wilkins can only be a stand in Manager until the new Gaffer gets the job. There was a change around of players tonight ... and some of the first half looked promising with Gully having a few nice touches ... although Connolly is ok as a footballer he never looked liked scoring.. and the team missed Adam Lallana tonight.

    At half time off Connolly and on Barnard - but it did not happen. When Barney did come on too late to influence the game he let his frustrations overspill and saw Red.

    Poor in the second half - and with Barnard now to miss some games and Lallana doubtful the Team are going to struggle to get goals - they needed to have signed a Striker and offloaded Connolly at the end of last season.

    Saints conceded tonight - similar to the corner scenario - ball whipped in by Swindon who had little of the ball at this point but were well organised and straight in the back of the net.

    Players seemed to be in a strange mood tonight apart from Gully - they are professional and need to dig deep to now get results in the League.

    Saints need to get the next appointment right - it is crucial to their success. He better be top quality based on what I have seen tonight.

  • Comment number 94.

    Liebherr wanted to sack AP after last years percieved failure. It was Cortese who persuaded Liebherr not to. Liebherr did not come to the last game of the season and hinted that he was dissatisfied with not getting into the playoffs. The loss to Plymouth on the openining day was the last straw for Liebherr, Cortese could not protect AP anymore, it was decided by both that AP would be sacked. Unfortunatly Liebherr then went and died. There was then a periode of morning for the owner. Cortese made a statement in effect stating that he would carry on the policys that Liebherr had put in place. This explains the apparent strange timing of the dissmisal. The dissmisaal had been delayed. AP should have been out after the Plymouth game.As for a replacement, Stuert Pierce has been spotted around the club recently,could he be in with a shout?

  • Comment number 95.

    It all started to go wrong when we sacked Chris Nicholl. Since then we've been lucky to keep hold of manager for 2 seasons!

  • Comment number 96.

    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.

  • Comment number 97.

    With the benefit of a long tail of responses to look at the stark reality is that nobody knows the real reason behind the move.

    What's clear is that it was something that was decided on well before the Bristol game...and that Saints fans are divided on whether it's a good or bad thing (that says quite a lot in itself).

    My feeling is it is Cortese's decision. He deserves the opportunity to be proven right.

    Why? Pardew was not a bad manager, but for a businessman with ambition...good is the enemy of great.

  • Comment number 98.

    Some of the names suggested for the job are just ridiculous. Most have poor track records and the others wouldn't lower themselves to League One.

    I suggest Diego Maradona...

  • Comment number 99.

    I can't agree with those Saints fans who are not outraged by this decision. As the first post said, the decision is preposterous, and furthermore, has the all-too-familiar hallmark of an egotistical chairman micromanaging team expectations. I hoped we had seen the back of this sort of behaviour with the departure of Wups, but alas no.

    I would have been happy last season simply to avoid relegation to League 2, but in the event we had a brilliant year, and quite frankly was astonished when the rumours about Pardew being under threat emerged towards the end of the season.

    Now some people are suggesting that last season's performance "wasn't good enough". What did Cortese expect? Runaway champions, winning every match 5-0? This from a team which started with a ten point deficit, a massively depleted squad (with those remaining having just experienced relegation), low morale, and no time to rebuild before the start of the season. A slow start was hardly unexpected, and once the team was rebuilt and form found, I was blown away by how well we did.

    If that wasn't good enough for Cortese (and quite why it wouldn't be, I can't even begin to understand), surely the manager should have been replaced immediately, rather than 3 games into the new season, with, as it seems, no replacement ready to take over. So not only has Cortese shown a poor judgement of managerial ability, and demonstrated outrageosly unrealistic expectations, but also a poor business sense, by causing disruption when what the club needs is stability.

    Furthermore, what manager is going to want to take over the reins with a demanding and unreasonable chairman like Cortese breathing down their neck.

    I was hopeful of promotion this season, but Cortese has now condemned us to at lease another season in the lower divisions, and unless things change and expectations become more reasonable, I can't see us progressing for some time to come.

  • Comment number 100.

    Southern Fairy, Post 98 - that's a genius idea, why on earth no-one else has suggested Maradona before this is beyond me :) Well, it would certainly be dramatic, at any rate...

    Speaking as a Norwich City supporter, I think the best advice to fans fulminating against the board at Southampton right now is: wait and see and happens.

    I started following football early in the 1988/89 season (at pretty much the exact point flagged up by Chelsea fan Jamie in post 70, funnily enough) and Bryan Gunn was one of my favourite players right from the off and for the next decade, and he remains a Canary legend. So I was delighted when he became manager (though perhaps my heart was speaking louder than my head) together with a coaching team of fellow Carrow Rd favourites, and was gutted when he was sacked so soon into last season - yes, he'd presided over our relegation from a difficult but not impossible starting position, and there was the opening-day 7-1 hammering by Colchester, but I thought "surely that was a fluke one-off" and a 4-0 cup win at Yeovil days later seemed to confirm this... yet the axe still fell.

    Yet, the season under Paul Lambert panned out better than any NCFC fan probably dared to dream as we got into gear, rose up the table from rock bottom and caught and passed Leeds with room to spare en route to the title. In fact, it was almost an ideal year: the slow start meant I for one had given up on hopes for a good season, so the subsequent ascent was all the more joyful in its unexpectedness - and a rare thing indeed since after those heady days of 1988-94 there'd been a general downward spiral over 15 years, only leavened by the equally unforeseen 2003/04 Division 1 title, until last year. I'm sure Saints fans can empathise...

    So yes, I thought Pardew's sacking was premature, as Southampton also recovered from a slow start last season and would have stood a good chance of promotion were it not for the 10-point deduction. But it only goes to show, even the most precipitous of board decisions can work out for the best. I agree that Saints will have to get lucky for circumstances to play out the same as they did for Norwich - for starters I think most Canaries fans were happy to get Lambert, whereas there's still a fair chance of Southampton ending up with someone many supporters won't believe in - but I'd say "hold your fire" and don't get too worked up until things are a bit more concrete, as they may work out more successfully than you imagine!


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