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Nervous managers lack Christmas cheer after Allardyce axe
The festive season is upon us but, just like turkeys, Premier League managers will be getting a bit twitchy after two of their brotherhood fell to the axe in the past week.
The fact that both victims were ruthlessly dispatched with their sides doing reasonably well will only add to the sense of trepidation.
First Chris Hughton was sacked by Newcastle United despite winning promotion last term and steering the Magpies into the top half of the table.
Then on Monday Sam Allardyce was booted out by Blackburn Rovers despite winning four of his previous seven league matches — a decision Alex Ferguson described as “absolutely ridiculous.”
The New Year could well see the managerial revolving door spinning off its hinges as club owners start calculating the cost of relegation out of the top flight.
Avram Grant seems very vulnerable at bottom club West Ham United, particularly with the likes of Allardyce and former Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur boss Martin Jol now out of work — both would be attractive propositions for the east London club’s owners should they decide to make a change.
Mark Hughes at Fulham is another manager desperately in need
of some Christmas cheer. His side are only out of the bottom
three on goal difference — a stark contrast to last season when
they thrived under Roy Hodgson.
Gerard Houllier, Alex McLeish and David Moyes are also under the spotlight at Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Everton respectively after disappointing first halves of the season.
Liverpool boss Hodgson could be the most vulnerable though. The normally composed, erudite Englishman has lost seven of his first 17
league matches in charge at Liverpool and was clearly rattled by
Saturday’s defeat at Newcastle.
The fixtures come thick and fast over the next couple of weeks and with the January transfer window almost upon us it is a time when managers traditionally knock on the chairman’s door asking for some spending money for the sales.
Hodgson has made no secret of the fact that his squad needs an injection of quality — despite former boss Rafael Benitez’s comments that he left behind a squad full of internationals — but could the club’s American owners decide more drastic action is required before they start splashing the cash?
PHOTO: Blackburn Rovers’ manager Sam Allardyce is seen rubbing his eye during their English League Cup semi-final soccer match against Aston Villa at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England in this January 20, 2010 file photograph. Allardyce and his assistant Neil McDonald have left the club with immediate effect, the Premier League club said on December 13, 2010. REUTERS/Darren Staples