Swansea City tonight took the astounding step of sacking Michael Laudrup, merely a day after Huw Jenkins claimed they had not discussed his future. The Welsh outfit took the league by storm last year, finishing eighth, and qualifying for the Europa League via a brilliant League Cup triumph.
However, this season, injuries to star striker Michu, Wifried Bony's slow start to life in England, and the added fixture list led to a slump in league form which currently leaves them with six defeats in eight games and only two points off the relegation places.
This decision can never come as a total surprise, given the volatile nature of today's Premier League, but victories at Manchester United and Valencia should not be forgotten, and if Jenkins truly thought his side was no better than at least three of the sides around them, he has severe paranoia issues. They may have been in a bit of a sticky patch, but Swansea remained only one win from a top-half placing, and one must wonder who can hope to follow in Laudrup's footsteps.
Surely, given last season's mishaps, Laudrup deserved more time to turn things around. Mike Ashley at Newcastle is guilty of many footballing misdemeanours, but he at least allowed Pardew to remain the captain of his ship through even choppier waters. Sixteenth last season was followed by what (for now) is a comfortable eighth place position, with less of the growing hassle that is the Europa League. If Pardew can do it, so can Laudrup, a man who is generally much more saught after, and was touted around Spain in the summer. He probably won't stay jobless for long.
In the statement attached to the sacking, Jenkins pointed to the fact that he hadn't sacked a manager in ten years, as if it makes the timing and actual carrying out of the decision any less ludicrous. It is easy to be loyal when managers are bringing you success. Not so long ago Swansea were struggling to stay in the Football League, but having been spoilt with Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers, and now Laudrup, the Swansea hierarchy may find that their impatience will come back to haunt them.
Jenkins may have a Pochettino-esque ace up his sleeve, and Swansea do seem to be similarly set up, to allow for a revolving door managerial system. But Southampton got lucky - there are only so many managers who would be able to do what Laudrup did. It is not even a year since that glorious day at Wembley, and Laudrup, along with the vast majority of football fans, will be stunned at what they are seeing.