Devious thing, football. Just when you thought it was safe to stop discussing Carlos Tevez’s insistence on leaving Manchester City and start discussing Manchester United’s showdown against Arsenal, along come Blackburn with an axe... and it’s off with the head of manager Sam Allardyce, who was being punted as a future England boss just months ago.
Yes, big Sam. The man who made Bolton Wanderers a Premier League force to reckon with for a decade, who was forced out of Newcastle United before his time. Who played 450 games around the world, from Millwall to Limerick, Coventry to Tampa Bay Rowdies.
It’s not as if he was doing that badly. Blackburn are currently 13th in a topsy-turvy Premier League winter. Allardyce and his vast backroom staff are respected for their attention to detail, their ability to produce cut-price resilience in the face of billionaire batterers.
Who sacked him? Well, Blackburn. But under the guise of their new owners “Venky’s Group” (also known as Venkateshwara Hatcheries Private Limited). Yes, they are experts in chicken products in India. They certainly know how to make feathers fly. Who hatched this one up? They were the ones who said they were happy to finish mid-table and didn’t really worry too much about top honours.
So why sack Allardyce and his assistant Neil McDonald just before the Festive season fun? Why send first-team coach Steve Kean out to get them through the hectic Christmas period?
Okay, they’ve lost three out of their last five, and nobody could have been too happy to see them edged out 2-1 by a late goal against his old club Bolton. Big Sam, now 56, took it like a man. He grinned as he discussed injury time with his opposite number Owen Coyle.
Moustachioed for much of his career, the “Walrus” is not to be trifled with. They finished 10th last season and have become a side renowned for being difficult to beat.
Big Sam certainly didn’t deserve to end up with egg on his face like this. Venky’s squawked, via a statement from Ewood Park: "We have taken this decision as part of our wider plans and ambitions for the club.”
Rubbish. They don’t know what they’re doing. Expect a Sven Goran Eriksson type appointment any day soon. Or could we see the return of Martin O'Neill, the estranged former Aston Villa boss? Watch this space?
Who the hell is Neal Collins (nealcol on Twitter)? See www.nealcollins.co.uk... and watch South Africa's SuperSportHD and 3 tonight at 8.30pm before the Manchester United v Arsenal clash.