When it comes to life as a football manager, then nothing really surprises me.
I have been a fan, and journalist, long enough to know that it is a short-lived profession in which results are the bottom line.
Guys like Arsene Wenger are the exception, men who have been allowed to stay in employment at one club, in his case Arsenal, when the results on the pitch might not have always been forthcoming.
I have sat in enough managers’ offices, where they have spoken about their long-term plans only for a phone call the next day to say he has been “relieved of his duties”. At the other end of the scale, I think everyone knew Paul Lambert was on borrowed time at Aston Villa, and Tim Sherwood has quickly stepped into his shoes.
But I have to admit, this week’s latest managerial casualty caught even me off guard.
Mark Warburton has been told his services are no longer required at Brentford come May.
Not a headline-catching move, but ridiculous in the extreme when you dig a bit deeper.
Warburton was a surprise choice to replace Wigan-bound Uwe Rosler in December, 2013.
Five months later, the Bees – an unfashionable club amid the bright lights of west London – were celebrating promotion to the Championship.
Many expected them to struggle, but Warburton – with former Sheffield United manager David Weir at his side – took Brentford into the top six and they looked a good bet for back-to-back promotions.
Only when rumours of Warburton’s demise surfaced last weekend did a surprise 3-0 loss to Charlton ensue, meaning they slipped out of the top six.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” is something my dad always reminds me. Shame Bees chairman Matthew Benham did not follow that advice.
It seems he wants a head coach, rather than a manager, who will have less say in the club’s transfer dealings.
Benham said: “I am a passionate Brentford fan and every decision I take is intended to be in the best long-term interests of the club.
“Some of the decisions taken to date have been easy and some, like this one, have been extremely hard.
“Under Mark’s stewardship, Brentford have achieved a high league position and played football which is a joy to watch.
“It is difficult to seek to implement change, particularly when things appear to be going so well, but I am single-minded in my resolve that we can leave no stone unturned in our quest for sustainable Premier League football. Innovation, not increased funding, can be the only route to success for clubs such as ours, and I fully accept that innovation is never without risk.”
Benham is the club’s owner, it is his money at stake, so he has the right to do what he wants.
I just find it staggering to break up such a successful formula when your club is so close to reaching the Premier League.
No doubt Warburton will not be short of offers, but I think quite a few neutrals will snigger if Brentford’s ‘new era’ next season fails to match this season’s success.