Vote for the Harshest Sacking of 2013by Jack Kitson / 15 January 2014, 10:23Tweet
Every so often there is a bizarre and a downright baffling sacking that erupts like a seismic shock out of the blue, and in turn leaves the football world stunned and staggered. 2013 contained no shortage of irrational decisions, void of logic or reason, from cut-throat owners demanding the impossible from their managers.
Below we take a look at five of those ruthless dismissals that took place during the last calendar year. Get involved by posting comments and taking part in our poll.
Nigel Adkins sacked by Southampton on 18th January
The shock sacking of Nigel Adkins was greeted with a combination of outrage and disgust from Southampton fans who, with open mouths, witnessed possibly the harshest sacking in Premier League history. The affable and immensely popular former physio was sent packing less than 48 hours after the Saints had valiantly fought back from two goals down to snatch a deserved point at the home of European Champions Chelsea.
The decision was a harsh one considering that the south coast side had admirably bounced back from their horrific start to life back in the top-flight - they recorded just five points from their opening 10 games - having lost only two of their last 12 matches. The fact that Adkins had led the Saints to back-to-back promotions, from the bottom of League One up to the Premier League, seemed to mean little to owner Nicola Cortese, who opted to sack a manager with the best win percentage in the club’s post-war history.
Gus Poyet, Brighton sacked by Brighton on 23rd June
The outrage and controversy surrounding Gus Poyet’s acrimonious axing by Brighton was not so much at the decision itself but the deplorable timing of it. The bemused Uruguayan was told the news live on television (see video) while working as a pundit for the BBC during the Confederations Cup. A clearly uncomfortable Mark Chapman had the unenviable task of discussing the decision with a bemused Poyet, who had only been informed seconds earlier.
The sour saga erupted in the aftermath of Brighton's defeat to fierce rivals Crystal Palace in the play-offs when Poyet was suspended after refusing to commit his future to the club. A month later he was sacked for gross misconduct, and what followed was a lengthy legal battle between the parties, which somewhat spoiled what had previously been a successful partnership between club and manager, with Poyet winning 86 of his 194 games in charge.
Roberto Mancini sacked by Man City on 14th May
Roberto Mancini’s dismissal may not have been the most surprising of the year but it ranks as a very harsh one when you take into account his astounding achievements at Man City. In his first full season in charge at the Etihad Mancini led City to their first major trophy - the FA Cup - in 35 years, and then a year later succeeded in winning the club the Premier League title in the most thrilling way possible.
However, City then lost out to rivals Man Utd in 2012/13 in what proved to be his final season in charge, while they were also defeated by Wigan in the FA Cup Final. It was Mancini’s failure to win any domestic silverware combined with his faltering in Europe - City were twice dumped out at the group stage - which ultimately cost him. Meanwhile numerous player disputes didn’t shine him in a good light in front of the most demanding of owners.
Steve Clarke sacked by West Brom on 14th December
A sacking that divides opinion. West Brom had only won seven of their last 34 league games, which included four defeats from their last four games. Meanwhile Steve Clarke had spent the summer splashing out on record-signing Stephane Sessegnon and striker Victor Anichebe.
However, on the other side of the coin the decision to send Clarke packing was viewed by many as a rash one, considering that only seven months earlier he had led the Midlands club to 8th: their highest ever Premier League finish. The general consensus was that Clarke deserved more time, but it seems that his overachievement during the 2012/13 season ultimately cost him.
Malky Mackay sacked by Cardiff City on 27th December
The sacking of Nigel Adkins was labelled by many as the harshest sacking in Premier League history, but less than a year later the axing of Malky Mackay provided a stern challenge for being one of the most unjust dismissals in football history.
Following an extremely excruciatingly public dispute Cardiff City's ruthless owner, Vincent Tan, swung the axe on Mackay following the club's 3-0 defeat at home to Southampton. Just a week earlier the ever contentious and unpredictable Tan, who controversially changed the team's colours from blue to red, had given Mackay a shock ultimatum: resign or face being sacked - news that was met with disgust by the football community. To his credit Mackay stood his ground, with Tan then seemingly backing down on his threat, only to then send him packing , despite an outpouring of support from the Cardiff faithful.