Crystal Palace have sacked manager Alan Pardew after just one win in 11 Premier League matches, with Sam Allardyce firmly in the Selhurst Park frame.
Palace announced Pardew’s departure on Thursday afternoon, admitting they had asked the 55-year-old to “step down as manager of the club”.
Pardew paid the price for a meagre six Premier League wins in 2016 – but also potentially suffered after claiming just three weeks ago that Palace’s American owners “perhaps don’t know a lot about football”.
Palace chairman Steve Parish pledged to “wind the dial back the other way” from Pardew’s attacking style – a move that would perfectly fit Allardyce’s regimented approach.
“With games now coming thick and fast over the holiday period the club are hoping to put someone in place as quickly as possible but have nothing to say about a replacement at this time,” said Parish.
Palace sit just one point and one place off the Premier League drop zone, with Parish admitting the club felt compelled to act to avoid a bitter relegation battle.
“Relegation is so costly and I feel with no blame attached we got ourselves in a rut and need a change,” Parish told BBC Sport.
“We all bought into the decision to play a more expansive style of football. We all believed in it. That hasn’t worked. It’s no-one’s fault.
“But now we’re going to wind the dial back the other way.
“We’re talking to a number of people to make sure we get this right, but nothing has been agreed.”
Allardyce has rocketed to the front of the queue of potential replacements, even more so given Palace’s determination to tighten up their play.
The ex-Sunderland boss has been out of work since his exit from the England job in September.
Allardyce lasted just 67 days with the Football Association, losing his dream job after a newspaper sting where he made ill-advised comments to undercover reporters.
Former Palace owner Simon Jordan believes Allardyce would be the ideal man to keep the Eagles in the Premier League.
“I have always liked Sam,” Jordan told Sky Sports of Allardyce.
“I think that he should never have lost the England job and maybe if they can reach some kind of agreement it might be the perfect move for him.
“They just have to stay out of the bottom three this season. And Sam Allardyce is absolutely the person who can achieve that for them.”
Former Eagles midfielder Pardew took over at the Selhurst Park helm in January 2015, stabilising Premier League fortunes and even guiding the club to this summer’s FA Cup final.
Palace’s wretched league form in 2016 despite the club hitting new spending heights had left Pardew seemingly with only chairman Palace in his corner at the club.
Pardew’s position appeared under threat the moment Americans Harris and Blitzer completed their takeover in December 2015.
And Pardew seemed to compound apparent frosty relations in his reaction to Palace’s 3-0 home win over Southampton on December 3 – a victory that had earned the ex-West Ham boss a stay of execution.
Pardew explained how the modern football manager must always fear the sack after that Southampton victory, only to blot his copy book with his pay-off line.
“We have a lot of serious investors at the club who perhaps don’t know a lot about football so the chairman has been defending me,” said Pardew.
Former Palace chief Jordan admitted Pardew could have lost the club’s backing following those comments.
“It looks like they don’t trust Alan Pardew any more to spend their moment in January,” said Jordan.
“You cannot speak about your employers, and Sam Allardyce learned that with the England job.”