When Aston Villa fans unfurled a banner from the Holte End aimed at then manager David O’Leary and proclaiming “We are not fickle – we just don’t like you” it was inevitable his days in the job were numbered.

Fast forward a few seasons and the current Premier League has again witnessed a managerial casualty in Roy Keane who has turned his back on Sunderland after criticism from some quarters among the fans.

Bookmakers, who watch over these events like the Grim Reaper, scythe at the ready, are now taking bets on where the axe will fall next.

Paul Ince at Blackburn Rovers is surely a contender while pressure is mounting on Gianfranco Zola at West Ham United.

A few weeks ago it was Joe Kinnear at Newcastle United after a rant with the press. But he has now stopped the rot at St James’ Park and is safe, albeit on a short-term contract for now.

If you look along the names which are safe as houses then Villa’s Martin O’Neill and of course Sir Alex Ferguson would stand out.

A few miles from Old Trafford at Eastlands, Mark Hughes might have been considered until recently to be the luckiest manager in the league with an infinite pot of money being made available to him thanks to the generosity of City’s oil-rich new owners.

However Hughes could, it might be argued, be in the most precarious position of all.

The new sheikhs have already tried to bring in players over his head and even this week were quoted as bidding £52?million for David Villa.

Hughes recently claimed he was in “total control” but it appears he has not been consulted on several occasions as the new owners try to pour millions of pounds into their new investment.

The money being ploughed in of course demands instant success and it is unlikely the Arabs will want to see City in mid-table mediocrity for much longer.

Champions League football will be the order of the day or Hughes could well find himself looking for fresh employment.

While the media and the bookies now speculate on who will replace Keane at the Stadium of Light names are being thrown into the ring.

Candidates such as Sam Allardyce and David O’Leary to name but two. Yes, the same Sam Allardyce forced out of Newcastle United and the same O’Leary the fans got out of Villa Park.

Funny old game football. And perhaps the only sport where terribly over-used cliches are actually pin-point accurate.

The managerial merry go round is about to turn full circle again.