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Leicester City sack Nigel Pearson due to ‘differences in perspective’

Nigel Pearson’s tumultuous reign in charge of Leicester City was brought to an end on Tuesday night after he was sacked because of “fundamental differences in perspective” between the club’s owner and the manager. In a club statement that came like a bolt from the blue Leicester’s Thai owners made it clear that the damage was irreparable and that their working relationship with Pearson had totally broken down.

While the club chose not to go into the deeper reasons behind a decision that had been brewing at various stages last season – Pearson was informed in February that he was out of a job only to be told that he was back in work a few hours later – focus will inevitably fall on that ill-fated end-of-season “goodwill” tour to Thailand, where three Leicester players, including the manager’s son, James, were accused of taking part in a racist sex tape.

Pearson Jr, Tom Hopper and Adam Smith all had their contracts terminated after the club investigated the allegations that the players had racially abused and made other offensive comments to women with whom they were engaging in sex acts in a hotel room. The whole episode was a huge embarrassment to Leicester, who are owned by the Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and Aiyawatt, his son.

Whether the fall-out from that unsavoury incident contributed significantly to Pearson’s dismissal remains to be seen. It is clear, though, that Vichai and Aiyawatt were no longer willing to tolerate Pearson being in charge of their football club and that there was only one course of action in their eyes.

A club statement said: “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 Pearson had finished the season on a spectacular high as he masterminded an improbable escape, with Leicester winning seven of their last nine Premier League games to climb off the bottom of the table and finish 14th, the manager seemed to have a magnetic attraction to controversy throughout that season and the board took a dim view of his behaviour at times.

In December he was fined £10,000 by the Football Association and given a one-match touchline ban after an angry verbal exchange with a Leicester supporter towards the end of the 3-1 defeat by Liverpool. Pearson told the fan who was abusing him to “fuck off and die”.

Two months later Pearson grappled with James McArthur and had his hands around the throat of the Crystal Palace midfielder at one point. The following day reports began to surface that Pearson has been sacked. There was another bizarre incident later in the season when Pearson called a journalist an “ostrich” during a post-match press conference. He publicly apologised for those comments the next day.

Pearson, who was in his second spell as Leicester manager after returning from Hull City in November 2011, was backed in the transfer market this summer. He brought in Christian Fuchs, Robert Huth and Shinji Okazaki and there was no hint among the staff close to him that he might be out of job anytime soon.

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Leicester have placed Steve Walsh and Craig Shakespeare, the joint assistant managers, in temporary charge of first-team duties while they begin the process of recruiting a replacement for Pearson.


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