Five weeks after guiding Leicster City to a remarkable escape from Premier League relegation, Nigel Pearson has been sacked by Leicester City after a collapse in his relationship with the club’s Thai owners. The pivotal factor for Pearson’s surprise departure is the dismissal of his son James understood. In a statement the club owners declared the feisty English manager was sacked based on fundamental differences with the board.
After guiding Leicester to seven victories in its final nine games to saved the team from relegation, Pearson endured a difficult season with a number of off-field incidents proving embarrassing for the club and left him open to criticism. During the recent post-season tour to Thailand a video surfaced of three Leicester players, including Pearson’s son, James, apparently participating in a racist orgy. This caused a fractious relationship between Pearson and his board during the past two years and it reached breaking point after James was sacked along with two young players following a racist sex tape during a post-season tour of Thailand.
The video showed the defender Pearson, 22, naked in a hotel room as Thai women were filmed engaging in a sex act while forward Hopper, 21, and goalkeeper Smith, 22, were also shown lying naked in a bed laughing.It is thought that Nigel Pearson was not involved in the decision made on June 17 which created an even bigger rift between the 51-year-old and his employers.
Despite talks over the past fortnight, in which Leicester have signed £7 million striker Shinji Okazaki and completed
the £3 million capture of Robert Huth, the damage has proved irreparable.The development still comes as a shock, however, after Pearson secured top-flight survival with seven wins in the last nine games.
Leicester’s statement read: “Regrettably, the club believes that the working relationship between Nigel and the board is no longer viable. It has become clear that fundamental differences in perspective exist between us. The board of directors recognises the success Nigel has helped to bring to Leicester City during his two spells in charge, particularly during the last 3½ years. We trust that the supporters will recognise that the owners have always acted with the best interests of the club at heart and with the long-term future as their greatest priority.”
Though Pearson almost lost his job after losing the Championship play-off semi-final to Watford in 2013, it has been this season that his future has come under severe scrutiny. In December, with his team bottom of the league, he was caught telling a Leicester fan to “f— off and die” and was fined £10,000 by the Football Association and given a one‑game touchline ban.
Shortly after that incident it was alleged that the Thai owners had expressed concern over Pearson watching games from the stands and recommended that he stood in the technical area. In February he appeared to throttle Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur on the touchline and then became embroiled in a row with Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker. He was allegedly sacked, then reinstated 24 hours later, but Pearson suggested in an interview with The Daily Telegraph in May that the furore had galvanised his squad.
WHO TO TAKE CHARGE AFTER PEARSON?
Sean Dyche, the Burnley manager, is an early contender to replace him while David Moyes, the former Manchester United manager now in charge at Real Sociedad, could be an option, especially with Leicester’s owners known to be financially supportive. Martin O’Neill, a former manager at Leicester who is now in charge of the Republic of Ireland, would be a popular candidate. Harry Redknapp was targeted by Leicester two years ago but the Thai owners may seek a more dynamic appointment as they look to build a strong reputation in the Far East. Sam Allardyce is not thought to be interested in the post after rejecting Sunderland in June.