Yesterday morning Alan Pardew became the fourth manager in the Football League to leave their post this season, and we're not even in September yet.
Pardew followed Kevin Blackwell, Steve Coppell and Chris Turner in collecting his p45, but while the other three departures were at least partially understandable, the sacking of Pardew seems incomprehensible, at least on first glance.
Last term he led the Saints to only their fourth piece of silverware, the Johnstones Paint Trophy, and finished just outside the playoffs despite a 10-point deduction and a wretched opening period.
Even though last season seemed a successful one at St. Marys, Pardew was reportedly under immense pressure for the majority of the campaign after spending a small fortune.
This time round, they were odds-on favourites to win League One and seemed to perform quite well in the summer transfer market, adding some experience and steel behind their powerful front line.
They haven't started particularly well, securing only four points from three games, but they won 4-0 away from home on Saturday, and with the transfer window closing this evening and the season only a matter of weeks old, surely there are more than just on-the-pitch reasons for his sacking.
Rumours so far have suggested that either a clash of personalities between manager and Chairman Nicola Cortese, or Pardew's desire to talk to Aston Villa about their vacancy are at the root of his departure.
The majority of fans on the South coast seem perplexed at the decision, and the club's statement has only added to the confusion. The statement from the St. Marys hierarchy begun by stating that they recognise frequent changes to the management team are unlikely to assist in winning promotion. Yet they sack a guy with a proven track record, who had a good season last year and has built a side that look likely to push for top spot.
Under the mounds of confusion on the at Southampton, two things are very clear. Firstly, with their vast budget, high turn-over of players, a meddling and controversial chairman and a massive lack of patience one could be forgiven for labelling Southampton the new Football League soap opera, following on from QPR, a club that have finally realised you need to trust a manager to do his job.
Secondly - with the window closing tonight, the stupid levels of pressure and the nature of Pardew's departure - what would normally be a very attractive job for most Football League managers now seems a risk not really worth taking.
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