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Sacking Big Sam is a sham

"I don't like Mondays," Bob Geldof famously sang. For Premier League managers those four words are starting to sound painfully close to the truth as Sam Allardyce becomes the second manager to be given the boot in consecutive weeks.

Just seven days after Chris Hughton was fired by Newcastle, it's the turn of Blackburn to give their boss the boot.

The only thing Allardyce can be accused of is playing a brand of football which is too easily castigated as being from a bygone era, like the aforementioned Boomtown Rats song.

New owners Venky's Group inherited one of the most reliable managers in the English game, a man who just two days ago was being lauded by David Dunn and Kevin Davies, among others, as the next manager of England.

Stability and common sense have gone out of the window as owners lose the plot. Why is it no longer acceptable for managers who are doing their job diligently and effectively to enjoy even a modicum of security in the role?

Whatever the general football fan may think of his style, football is heading down a dark path if managers who are performing well are going to get the sack and replaced by others who, on paper, seem to be inferior choices.

But both Hughton and Allardyce have been sacked from a position of comfort from which they can look up rather than down.

Blackburn's record over the last seven games reads won four, lost three. In that time they have played Tottenham and Manchester United. In the Premier League a return of 12 points from seven matches is close to Champions League form.

Any manager will find their job in jeopardy when a takeover goes through, Allardyce knows that only too well from his days at Newcastle after Mike Ashley took over from Freddy Shepherd. Maybe Allardyce thought it would be different this time, his post-match comments after Sunday's game certainly did not suggest he knew the trigger was about to be pulled.

Allardyce says he was "shocked and disappointed". His captain Ryan Nelsen was audibly stunned and very nearly lost for words that a coach he clearly admired and respected had been sacked.

Blackburn could now very easily face the prospect of a relegation fight. Does Venky's mistakenly believe that Rovers are all of a sudden an alluring proposition? Perhaps someone needs to tell them that it is no longer 1995.

Even with a major transfer war chest, Blackburn are no longer the richest club in the country, able to offer European football and success. While Venky's may have money, they will still own Blackburn Rovers of 2010 when they try to attract players - and managers - to the club.

Who could they hope to pull in? Martin Jol is the favourite for the job, but he wants to return to Hamburg. Martin O'Neill will surely look for a bigger club than Rovers, and the other names in the betting, such as Gary Megson and Glenn Hoddle, would be a retrograde step. Some bookies have even made Hughton the favourite for the job.

We now know Allardyce was a dead man walking; sacked just 24 days after the Venky's Group officially took charge. Since then Rovers have played four, winning two and losing two, though one of those defeats was a 7-1 thrashing at Manchester United.

Those now in charge of the football club either have a masterplan not obvious to most, or are just crazy. Around the time of the takeover they had indicated that a mid-table finish was their aim this season and that money would be available for transfers in the January window. Either they felt that Allardyce's direct style of play was not to their liking or they did not trust him to spend their money; maybe both were true.

For all Sam's faults he remains one of the most effective managers in the Premier League. He took over at Rovers almost two years to the day, on December 17, 2008. He took charge of a club which had lost six games in a row, and eight of their last ten in all competitions, to languish in 19th place in the table, five points adrift of safety.

Rovers immediately went on a nine-match unbeaten run and by the end of the season they finished seven points clear of the drop zone. After finishing in the top half last season they now sit 13th, but the table is so congested this season that if they had held on for a point at Bolton Wanderers on Sunday they would have been tenth.

There has been talk that the Venky's hierarchy intends to have control over transfers, which would go against Allardyce's autocratic style of management. But unless Venky's are going to pump hundreds of millions into the club they will be nothing more than they are now: a mid-table Premier League club.

Perhaps their intention is to bring someone in to play a more attractive style of football, but in doing that they risk their very existence in the top flight.

The official statement from Venky's stated that the sacking was "part of our wider plans". Maybe those "wider plans" will now be life in the Championship.


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