Football League Expert & Columnist
It's hard on Pards
Peter Beagrie says it's wrong that a clash of personality may have forced Alan Pardew out of Southampton.
Last Updated: 02/09/10 4:49pm
The departure of Alan Pardew from Southampton has left me gobsmacked.
The Saints were everybody's pre-season favourites for promotion. They kept the squad together that did so well last year and in the likes of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Jason Puncheon and Lee Barnard they have an embarrassment of playing talent.
They haven't had the greatest start to the season, but it's still early doors. They've been creating chances in every game, but unfortunately haven't been as ruthless as last season in front of goal. The 1-0 reversal against Plymouth, which was live on Sky Sports, was a good example of that and a failure to take chances is the only criticism that can be levelled at them.
However, the news of Pardew's exit came after a 4-0 rout of Bristol Rovers - a clear sign that they were getting things together - so I was shocked. I can only imagine every Southampton fans feel the same.
Pardew was popular among both the fans and the players. I've spoken to Adam Lallana, who had been linked with clubs in higher divisions, but was happy to stay at St Mary's because he rated Pardew so highly. He was a manager that gave players the license to go out and impress.
It's a shame because Southampton were all about stability last year. Investment had arrived and Pardew, a man with Premier League and Championship experience, appeared to be the right man to take the club forward.
I don't know where they go next. The names of Gianfranco Zola and Paul Hart have been mentioned, but I don't think Southampton fans would be pleased about either of those replacing Pardew.
The supporters have turned up to games in numbers, effectively voting for the manager and the team he'd assembled with their feet. They obviously liked what they were seeing.
I've spoken to Alan and he loved working at Southampton and loved working with the players. Everything seemed to be rosy in the garden, but the massive positivity around the club has been turned on its head.
Maybe this decision stems from the sad death of Markus Liebherr. He was perhaps Pardew's biggest ally in the boardroom and new chairman Nicola Cortese clearly wasn't particularly enamoured with the manager, for whatever reason.
It appears that a clash of personalities has led to Pardew's exit, and the exit was hastened by the passing of Liebherr.
Personally, I think personalities should be left out of decisions like this. You should look at how a club is progressing and how a team is playing before getting rid of the manager.
This decision stinks of a personality clash and has nothing to do with where the club is going.
MK Dons v Hartlepool
12pm, Sat, Sky Sports HD2
Whenever I've been to MK Dons with the Sky Sports live cameras or for Soccer Saturday I've been treated to a host of goals.
The youngster Sam Baldock has hit the ground running this season and is scoring goals left, right and centre. The coaching staff at MK Dons have told me his attitude and application is fantastic, even when he's not in the first XI, and that's refreshing to see.
This Saturday's game will also allow us to get a closer look at Didi Hamann, a signing which has gone under the radar somewhat after Craig Bellamy and Edgar Davids joined the Football League.
Hamann has been a top-class performer for Liverpool and various other Premier League clubs, but his move to MK Dons showed real forward thinking by the manager Karl Robinson and the owner Peter Winkelman.
The owner is a massive football fan, full of enthusiasm and the club has come a long way because of him. He has a vision for the future - and hopefully that includes a haircut that brings him into this decade!
There's been a real contrast in fortunes for Saturday's opponents Hartlepool, who lost 5-0 to Sheffield Wednesday last week and then beat Northampton 4-0 in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
Keeping James Brown fit will be key to their season. They have some good young players, but the experienced players will dictate where they finish.
I hope they do well because Hartlepool gave me my first playing contract back in 1979. There have been enormous changes since then; the changing rooms are immaculate now, but in my day I think 25 of us had to share a bath the size of a sink.Sometimes change is a good thing!
Peter's Picks of the Week
CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYER OF THE WEEK - Matt Mills (Reading)
Reading were down to the bare bones for last Saturday's game against Leicester, but Mills produced a real captain's performance. He led from the front, put his body on the line and scored a terrific headed goal. At the other end, he hurtled past a player to clear one off the line, despite the fact he'd aggravated an ankle injury. Reading desperately needed a win and his display was crucial to their three points.
See highlights of Leicester v Reading here
CHAMPIONSHIP GOAL OF THE WEEK - Jean Calve (Sheffield United)
One of Gary Speed's first signings, on loan from Nancy, gave his boss a big fillip with his first goal - a 35-yard screamer into the top corner - to seal a 1-0 win. That's how to make yourself popular straight away! I'd also like to mention James Bailey who scored a cracking first goal of his career for Derby, but Calve just edged it.
See highlights of Sheffield United v Preston here
LEAGUE ONE PLAYER OF THE WEEK - Neil Mellor (Sheffield Wednesday)
Neil Mellor has done really well since moving to Sheffield Wednesday and the club now have four really good strikers on their books. Mellor has plenty of experience and was at the heart of everything in their 5-0 win at Hartlepool, scoring one, assisting two and winning a penalty. It's no surprise to see the Owls near the top of the league.
See highlights of Hartlepool v Sheffield Wednesday
LEAGUE ONE GOAL OF THE WEEK - Aaron Cresswell (Tranmere)
Cresswell showed terrific technique with this left-footed free-kick. Anybody who has watched his career develop knows he can produce moments of magic from set pieces and this was certainly one of them.
See highlights of Dagenham v Tranmere here
LEAGUE TWO PLAYER OF THE WEEK - Mark Wright (Shrewsbury Town)
The former MK Dons winger can play on the left or the right and provides a real goal threat. He scored two goals against Stockport last Saturday and has been settled in fantastically well at Shrewsbury this season.
See highlights of Stockport v Shrewsbury here
LEAGUE TWO GOAL OF THE WEEK - Anthony Griffith (Port Vale)
I was torn between two goals this week. I nearly chose Andy Sandell's terrific goal for Wycombe, but I eventually went for Anthony Griffith, who scored a fine goal in a 2-1 defeat to league leaders Torquay.
See highlights of Port Vale v Torquay here