And we all thought October was the silly season! The news that Nottingham Forest manager, Sean O’Driscoll, has been sacked just hours after his side engineered an emphatic 4-2 victory over Leeds United on Boxing Day staggered many English football fans, with the finger clearly pointed at chairman, Fawaz Al Hasawi.
Forest’s Christmas could not have gone better after the team rebounded from a 2-0 defeat to Watford at the weekend to defy the odds on Betfair and stun Leeds inside the City Ground – Billy Sharp’s brace firing the home side in front early in the second half.
The stadium was rocking to the sound of victory and festive spirit, yet one man was clearly not in the mood to join in.
“It saddens me but we have parted company with Sean O'Driscoll. A tough decision but we are determined to move our great club forward,” Al Hasawi revealed on his Twitter profile just hours after the full-time whistle.
“[M]ade contact with PL manager tonight. Meeting Thursday,” he concluded, three hours later. Yet while some Forest fans will be eagerly anticipating the arrival of a Premier League manager, the vast majority will still be astounded O’Driscoll has been sacked on Boxing Day.
The surprise isn’t that he was sacked, for Forest have not met expectations this season and have won just two in their past six games, but that it comes right in the middle of the busiest fixture pile-up of the season.
Forest now face high-flying Crystal Palace and a tricky visit to Blackburn within a week and the confidence this squad could have taken from that 4-2 thumping of Leeds would have seen them good into the New Year.
However, as chairman Al Hasawi can do what he likes, and, if he feels he can bring in an experienced manager to spend his resources in January, then who can argue with that? Di Matteo is currently the favourite for the post, according to Betfair.
Sadly, the whole thing still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth during this otherwise very merry Christmas.