English football observed two more managerial departures on Thursday, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the divisive figure of Felix Magath paying the price for their obvious inability to halt the alarming slides that have taken hold of recently-relegated Cardiff City and Fulham and show no signs of abating.
The removal of those two aforementioned managers following disappointing starts to the 2014/15 campaign will surely only serve to increase the scrutiny on arguably the Premier League's most under-pressure boss - Newcastle's Alan Pardew.
While has has never appeared to received the unwavering support of the Toon faithful, the relationship between the passionate Newcastle fanbase and Pardew appears to have suffered a quite irretrievable breakdown over recent months, a disconnect that, in my view, has rendered his position totally untenable moving forward.
Quite simply, Newcastle's 2014 so far has been nothing short of dismal. A 10th-placed finish in 2013/14 may give the illusion of a team that were always relatively comfortable, although that position is slightly deceptive when you consider that Pardew's side amassed just five wins between January and May and suffered heavy defeats to the likes of fierce North East rivals Sunderland, Southampton, Tottenham, Everton and a notably out-of-sorts Manchester United still under the control of the hapless David Moyes.
On one level, Newcastle's loss of form towards the latter stages of last season is forgivable. Although they were lacklustre, a distinct absence of positive January transfer activity to atone for the sale of star midfielder Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain and the farcical saga involving Joe Kinnear's departure from his role as director of football hardly made the remaining few months easy to contend with.
This year, however, Pardew has no excuses and nowhere at all to hide. His team have been nothing short of putrid for the majority of the campaign to date and currently sit rock-bottom of the Premier League with no wins from four games and the second-worst goal difference in the entire division.
If the former Reading, West Ham, Charlton and Southampton man wasn't in trouble already, last week's shameful thrashing at St. Mary's will have gone a long way to sealing Pardew's inevitable fate.
True, Ronald Koeman's new-look side have started well and appear to be showing little signs of the sort of hangover that was expected to linger following the sale of a string of high-profile stars during the last transfer window, but the manner in which Newcastle succumbed to a 4-0 defeat - in the absence of any sort of heart, grit, passion or spirit - was unforgivable and the aggravation that transpired between assistant manager Jon Carver and sections of the understandably miffed travelling support offered more than a snapshot to a relationship between fans and management that has deteriorated beyond repair.
The 'lack of investment' excuse no longer appears applicable either. Newcastle added no fewer than seven first-team players to their squad over the course of the summer, nine if you consider Nottingham Forest duo Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles who are due to move to St. James' Park on a permanent basis in 2015 after being swiftly loaned back to the Championship leaders.
A number of those signings - particularly the likes of Remy Cabella, Emmanuel Riviere and Ayoze Perez - were brought in with the attention of providing an increase in flair but each appear as if they will require time to adapt to the pace of English football and will surely not be enough to save Pardew's skin.
Threat of further fan mutiny
More often than not, when a manager has totally lost the any semblance of backing from a club's support in such a manner over a sustained period of time, it is only a matter of time before an owner - even one as unpopular and stubborn as Mike Ashley - has to react in order to avoid a mutiny.
As if Pardew already wasn't receiving enough unwanted attention already, his comments ahead of Saturday's top-flight encounter at home to Hull City may just have pushed him past the point of no return and force Ashley into making the decision to dispense of the services of a man who is behind only rival Arsene Wenger in the list of the Premier League's longest-serving managers.
"The situation at the moment is almost like mass hysteria," he said this week.
"It has really gone to a level which makes it really difficult for the players to perform in. I'm hoping we can turn that around. I don't expect it to be easy.
"It has been suggested that I don't care about this position as I've got a long contract and I'm going through the motions. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was absolutely sick after the game on Saturday (the 4-0 defeat at Southampton).
"The performance we put in was just not worthy of this football club and that I blame on myself more than the players. I have been accused of not taking responsibility for the defeat at Southampton and I think that's because I won't criticise the players."
Although - to his credit - Pardew eventually tries to take responsibility for the sorry state of affairs, his opening statement appears to hint that some of the blame for the team's poor run must lie with outraged fans for creating a hostile environment fuelled by their unhappiness with Pardew.
Regardless of the result against Hull - a match in which fans are sure to to step up their protests against him - Pardew has past the point of no return at Newcastle and will surely find himself out of a job in the very near future bar the most miraculous improvement in the club's short-term fortunes.
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