Leicester City’s owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and his son Aiyawatt have sacked Nigel Pearson due to “fundamental differences in perspective.”
The decision occurred on Tuesday with the duo not going into detail about the reasons, but they made it clear that Pearson’s leadership would no longer be wanted at the club.
— Leicester City (@OfficialFOXES) June 30, 2015
Pearson, who was on his second spell as manager at Leicester after briefly leaving to coach Hull City, managed to lead the side from the bottom of the table to finish 14th in the 2014-15 season, seeing them win seven of their final nine games. This achievement led him to win the Premier League Manager of the Month award in April.
However, a certain tendency to get drawn into controversy may have forced the owners’ hands.
He was fined and banned in December by the Football Association after a profane argument with a Leicester fan following a 3-1 loss to Liverpool while he got in a physical confrontation with a Crystal Palace midfielder two months later following which he nearly lost his job.
The club issued a statement, saying:
“The board of directors recognises the success Nigel has helped to bring to Leicester City during his two spells in charge of the club, particularly during the last three and a half years. However, it has become clear to the club that fundamental differences in perspective exist between us. Regrettably the club believes that the working relationship between Nigel and the board is no longer viable.”
Although no mention of it was made, people will likely look to the racist sex-tape incident during the end-of-season “goodwill” tour in Thailand. In it, three Leicester players, including Pearson’s son, racially abused and made other offensive comments to Thai women with whom they were engaging in sexual acts on tape.
The entire ordeal was embarrassing and appalling to the club and their Thai owners, who certainly have not forgotten it. The players, Tom Hopper, Adam Smith, and James Pearson all saw their contracts terminated after investigation by the club.
Whether or not the fall-out from that episode contributed to the decision to offload Pearson, the club made it clear that their relationship with the 51-year-old Englishman was irreconcilable.
Joint assistant managers Steve Walsh and Craig Shakespeare have been placed in temporary charge of first-team duties. With pre-season training set to begin Monday, the club will be looking to fill the position as fast as possible.
Speculation as to who will take Pearson’s place has already begun, with Sam Allardyce and Sean Dyche near the top of the list of potential candidates.