Meet the deadliest date for Pompey managers
Shoppers are flexing their financial muscle in preparation for Black Friday and its promise of enticing deals.
Yet for a procession of Pompey managers, today represents Black Thursday.
Not that Paul Cook has any just cause to fear an exit – an impressive victory at Luton encouragingly keeping his side in fourth spot.
However, Blues record books show the date of November 24 has yielded the departure of a Pompey boss on three different occasions.
Coincidentally, such farewells to Harry Redknapp, Alain Perrin and Paul Hart all occurred within a five-year spell.
In addition, Guy Whittingham missed the deadly date by 24 hours during his 2013 dismissal.
However, that was because November 24 had unhelpfully fallen on a Sunday and Pompey’s board wished to rubberstamp their decision on the Monday.
In Pompey’s 118-year history, the date is unquestionably the bleakest for its managers.
It first leapt to significance in 2004, when Redknapp announced his resignation, citing the necessity for a break from football.
Right-hand man Jim Smith also departed, with director of football Velimir Zajec appointed as caretaker boss.
As it turned out, Redknapp returned to the game 15 days later – as manager of Southampton. The truth behind the shock exit centred on a bust-up with chairman Milan Mandaric, forcing emotional decisions which both later admitted regretting.
The following year, Perrin was given his marching orders on November 24.
Replacing Zajec in April 2005, the Frenchman won just four of his 21 matches in charge, prompting Mandaric to make a change.
During that seven month and 18-day spell, there was a memorable 4-1 triumph over Redknapp’s Southampton at Fratton Park.
However, a 3-0 defeat at Liverpool was Perrin’s final outing as boss and he was shown the door.
In 2009, it was the turn of Hart to fall foul of the dreaded date during Pompey’s final Premier League season.
Amid a backdrop of ownership wrangling, the Blues had endured a dire start to the campaign and the former Academy boss was on his way. Hart, who finished the previous season as caretaker manager, paid the price following a 1-0 defeat at Stoke which left Pompey remaining rooted to the foot of the Premier League.
Coaches Ian Woan and Paul Groves were put in charge for two days before Avram Grant became manager.
The season ended with an FA Cup final against Chelsea – and relegation to the Championship.
As for Whittingham, his November 25 departure came 48 hours after a 2-1 Fratton Park defeat to Scunthorpe.
He learnt of the bombshell shortly after meeting the media to preview the following evening’s visit of Southend United.
At least today will pass without any managerial drama, you can be absolutely sure of that.
Yet who knows what the future holds on subsequent November 24 dates.