Middlesbrough’s win over Cardiff City at the weekend proved to be the final straw for the Bluebirds’ board who sacked manager Mick McCarthy just hours after the defeat.
Boro were comfortable winners at the Cardiff City Stadium and condemned McCarthy’s men to an eighth consecutive defeat – their worst run since the 1930s.
And after the game Cardiff wasted no time in relieving the former Sunderland, Wolves and Republic of Ireland manager of his duties, with the 62-year-old not even having time to complete his post-match media duties.
The home fans made their feelings towards McCarthy known during the game singing, “you’re getting sacked in the morning” after Boro went 1-0 up through an Andraz Sporar penalty before Martin Payero added a second in the 74th minute.
“The sacking was a few weeks overdue,” Nathan from Ninian Opinion tells FansBet.
“The writing was on the wall after the Reading defeat which was just before the international break.
“Most thought the sack would happen then in order to give a new manager a bit of time before the next game, but it wasn’t to be, and it just got worse for Mick and the club.
“Every game since then was a cause to be sacked and we should all be thankful that it has now actually happened and we can try to move on.”
Despite securing three wins from their opening six Championship fixtures, the Bluebirds’ fortunes soon turned with McCarthy overseeing a 3-0 defeat in the South Wales derby earlier this month.
“We were utterly dreadful. I’m not sure how anyone survives a hammering at a rival, especially when you completely surrender to them.
“A game like that, with the way he set up, could have ended any manager’s reign.
“He didn’t have much credit in the bank with the fans leading up to the game but that result meant he would never be able to get back in the good books and his position was untenable.”
McCarthy had been in charge at the Cardiff City Stadium since January and despite a promising start, which saw an 11-game unbeaten run, the Bluebirds missed out on last season’s Championship play-offs.
As for this season, Cardiff have not won since September and with fan discontent increasing, coupled with a record sixth successive home defeat, the Championship journeyman has been relieved of his duties.
The shocking run of results has seen Cardiff plummet from eighth to 21st in the Championship in little over a month.
“He just lost his way,” reveals Nathan.
“There were a few early signs at the start of the season that it could go wrong.
“We didn’t score a goal with the foot for some time and with the complete lack of creativity in the side, it was obvious that if a side matched our height and physicality then we just wouldn’t be able to score.
“Another turning point was playing a back five which consisted of entirely centre halves.
“We conceded seven goals in two games playing that way as sides just ripped through us. Teams found us out and we didn’t have the personnel to change it.
“That led to Mick trying things that were never going to work, playing people far from their natural positions and he just couldn’t stop the severe rot that had set in.
“It’s very important to know that Mick McCarthy had next to no rapport with the fans, even when we were winning. He never clapped the fans home or away and generally just didn’t engage at all.
“If it’s not in his nature then fine, we were not asking him to be Klopp, but a little appreciation goes a long way, especially when the results turn.
“He didn’t bother and the fans simply lost patience with him quicker because of that.
“Eight defeats in a row is pretty damning. That is far worse than just some poor form, it’s a complete free-fall.
“You can lose two or three on the bounce, especially in this league where games come thick and fast, but eight.
“This run, the awful style of play and his lack of engagement with the fans made a disastrous cocktail for McCarthy at Cardiff.
“He could have done things differently, but, then again, he is a stubborn fellow and after 40 years of him being in football, would you expect him to change? Probably not.”
Cardiff City now have a crucial decision to make in terms of McCarthy’s replacement seeing as the club are only one place and two points above the Championship relegation zone.
Former Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder is the early favourite for the job and has the experience which may well appeal to the Cardiff hierarchy.
Chris Hughton is available following his departure from Nottingham Forest and former Preston and Norwich boss Alex Neil is among others with Championship know-how who are currently out of work.
Michael Flynn has been linked with Cardiff before and could be an avenue to pursue having left Newport County earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Neil Harris has been linked with what would be a shock return to the Welsh capital having made way for McCarthy nine months ago.
But whoever comes in, Nathan is not overly optimistic that they will be able to work miracles with the players they have at their disposal.
“The amount of neck pain at Cardiff City Stadium having to watch this football for five years must be sky high,” he jokes.
“However, a major stumbling block is Cardiff’s money, or lack of it would be more appropriate.
“Cardiff are skint and with a squad mostly filled with big, hard-nosed footballers, a change of style now brings huge risks of relegation.
“I hope they go for it, we need the change, but whether they do or not, I really don’t know.”
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