Neil Warnock looks on during one of his last games in charge of Crystal Palace last month.
Neil Warnock looks on during one of his last games in charge of Crystal Palace last month. GETTY

Offside: The silly season just got a whole lot sillier

NEIL Warnock has been given the sack more times than Santa Claus. But surely even he would have been surprised at his latest dismissal just five months into his latest sojourn at Crystal Palace.

Warnock first came to prominence as a manager when he took Notts County from the Third Division to First Division in successive seasons in the early-1990s before getting dumped after the club was relegated the season before First Division became the English Premier League.

A pattern emerged for the former winger as resignations and axings became the norm after brief spells of success at clubs such as Huddersfield Town, Plymouth Argyle, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace (2007-2010), Queens Park Rangers and Leeds United.

Sadly for Warnock, he wasn't even given time at Palace a second time around to even get success as a poor run of form led to his downfall after he took the management reins from Tony Pulis, who quit just before the season started.

Warnock was the first EPL manager sacked this season and after a long-time coming in this campaign, the second one was not far around the corner, with Alan Irvine shown the door after West Bromwich Albion's poor run of form also cost him his job.

They say this is the silly season and it certainly seems that way, with both Warnock and Irvine not doing too much wrong in my eyes.

Okay, so both teams are sitting near the bottom of the EPL table, but neither is rock-bottom, yet the likes of Sean Dyche at Burnley and Nigel Pearson at Leicester City have not yet had the axe.

Tony Pulis has decided the West Brom job is for him and it appears the board at the club has made the right choice, with the Welshman having never experienced relegation as a manager.

Whether he can turn things around at The Hawthorns is another matter but I suppose one thing is in his favour is that the January transfer window has just opened so, if the club sees fit to finance deals, he will get the players he wants to try and pull the club out of relegation trouble.

Newcastle United, meanwhile, is also on the lookout for another manager and I don't think in even the silliest of silly seasons, this would have been predicted.

Granted, Alan Pardew had a shocking start to this campaign but he had turned things around and even the fans, who at every game held signs up saying 'Pardew Out', were beginning to be won over by the Londoner.

It seems strange then Pardew would want to swap a club which only a year or two ago gave him an eight-year contract and is sitting pretty in the top half of the table, to one which looks like it has a relegation fight ahead.

Maybe all the pressure the fans put on him swayed Pardew or it could have been the fact that he was a Palace player and is regarded as a hero by the fans at the club for scoring the winner in the 1990 FA Cup semi-final to upset the then mighty Liverpool 4-3 and reach the FA Cup final for the first time.

It could be a case of better the devil you know for Pardew, but it seems a strange decision and also leaves Newcastle in the lurch having to look for a new boss when everything in the garden was looking a bit rosier.

But it is the silly season after all and it seems to me it will only get sillier now the transfer window is open.

Managers across the league should keep looking over their shoulders ... it could be a bumpy ride.



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