|Allardyce led Rovers to 10th place last season after guiding them away from the drop a year before [GALLO/GETTY]
Sam Allardyce's pragmatic style of football appears to have been the main reason for his surprise sacking as Blackburn Rovers manager after the team's new Indian owners stated that they demanded flair from the players – and a top-five league finish.
Allardyce was fired on Monday, only 16 days after Venky's Group – the Asian poultry giant that purchased Blackburn for $73 million last month – gave him its backing.
The team is in 13th place in the English Premier League, but could have gone sixth if they had beaten Bolton Wanderers at the weekend.
Anuradha Desai, chairman of Venky's, said the decision to sack Allardyce had been "a long time in our minds" and has a demanding set of targets for the former Bolton and Newcastle manager's successor.
"We want good football and Blackburn to be fourth or fifth in the league or even better," Desai told the Lancashire Telegraph newspaper.
"The fans should trust us because this is in the best interests of the club.
"I've never heard of such a stupid decision in all my life, it's absolutely ridiculous. I don't know what they're doing up there"
Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester Utd manager
"Our thinking now is that it will be a British manager. But we are open if there is an outstanding candidate, someone who would be really, really good for the club."
Dutch coach Martin Jol, who quit Dutch side Ajax last week, was installed as favourite to replace Allardyce by one British bookmaker on Monday.
Tabloid newspaper The Daily Mirror even claimed Argentina legend Diego Maradona was being lined up by Venky's.
Blackburn won their only English title in 1995 but have been mediocre since.
Allardyce took over from Paul Ince in December 2008, avoiding relegation that season and guiding the club to 10th last term on limited funds.
Blackburn's style of football has been direct and physical but Desai is looking for a change of approach.
"It is nothing against Sam but we have a different vision looking forward and we want the club to grow," she said.
"We had been talking to Sam in the past few weeks but he did not fit in with our vision for the club's future.
"We wanted good football, wanted the games to be interesting and, of course, wanted to win and to have good players. We needed to do some changes and Sam going is, of course, the main change. This is a major step but it was needed. We thought, 'Why delay?'"
The firing of Allardyce has been greeted largely with disbelief by players and managers alike.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, a close friend of Allardyce, said the decision "confounds common sense."
"I've never heard of such a stupid decision in all my life, it's absolutely ridiculous," said Ferguson, speaking on Monday after his team's 1-0 win over Arsenal.
"I don't know what they're doing up there, but deary me."