Football Etc photo by Cath Aubergine
Football Etc photo by Cath Aubergine

Football is a ruthless business. It’s ruthless on the pitch but it’s even more ruthless in the boardroom.

The sacking of Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo is just one example of cut throat and faintly barmy decisions taken by the real bosses of the club. Here is a top ten of the most head scratching sackings in football.

Yes, yes, we know there’s more… we haven’t even started on international teams yet!

1 Roberto di Matteo

Did he fall foul of some ingenious, if extremely dear, grand plan OR the need to get more (or just anything, come to that) out of a single star player? Tell us your theory.

2 Jupp Heynckes

You could say Real Madrid is Chelsea owner Abramovich’s true inspiration after all, and not, as everyone assumes, Barcelona. Madrid set the sacking bar when they sent the German packing but a month after winning the 1998 Champions League – the Spanish giants’ first European Cup win since 1966.

3 Carlo Ancellotti

The current PSG boss and celebrated Milan coach also found that silverware alone does not an insurance policy make when you ply your trade at Stamford Bridge.

4 Allan Brown

It’s Christmas 1978 and Blackpool are lying second in Division 2…€“ the one we now call the Championship. An argument with his chairman leaves Brown out on his ear and the Tangerines relegated come the end of the season…

5 Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp

On the face of it Blackburn and Spurs appeared to risk throwing away hard-won status when dispensing with the services of these big beasts of the managerial jungle. Suffice to say Louder Than War wasn’t all that surprised.

6 Sean Dyche

Watford owners the Pozzo family played the “we want our own man” card to its fullest extent in ending Dyche’s tenure in July 2012 after he’d amassed a remarkable 64 Championship points in the season just ended.

7 Ron Saunders

Far from the only contender to fall foul of the late Peter Swales at Manchester City, this old school scouser’s Villa team went on to win the European Cup less than a decade later, albeit guided by his erstwile number two, Tony Barton… because Saunders had simply taken enough. MCFC gave him five months and showed him the door in 1974.

8 Chris Hughton and likewise Alan Pardew

It doesn’t look like owner Ashley got it too badly wrong in hindsight, granted. Yet both Hughton and his successor at Newcastle could be forgiven for asking “what more, exactly, could I have done for you” at the time they were dismissed…€“ Pardew by Southampton as they chased promotion from League One.

9 Dave Jones

Southampton’s Rupert “it’s all in the breeding” Lowe placed Jones on gardening leave in 2000, thus adding intolerable fuel to a fire he’s fought with dignity ever since.

10 Dario Gradi

Crystal Palace chairman and ambassador for race relations Ron Noades sacked Gradi in 1981 after just 10 months in charge. The kind of production line he subsequently established at Crewe might well have helped the South Londoners afford a lick of paint for Selhurst Park in the meantime.

 

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