Roberto Di Matteo falls foul of Preston North End managerial curse

Defeat to North End was always likely to spell the end of his time at Villa Park.

Roberto Di Matteo as a manager.
Roberto Di Matteo has fallen foul of the curse. Who will be next? Image Getty

Roberto Di Matteo’s 124-day reign as Aston Villa manager is over and the Italian will know the precise moment it all went wrong – by losing to Preston North End.

Granted, Villa had endured a miserable run of form this season that has seen the Claret and Blue drop to 19th in the Championship standings, but there are far darker forces at work here – namely, the Preston hoodoo.

Beaten 2-0 by North End in his last game in charge, Di Matteo has become the fifth manager in the space of 12 months to be given his marching orders after dropping points against Preston.

In October 2015, Preston put Charlton to the sword with a 3-0 victory at the Valley that paved the way for Guy Luzon’s sacking at the London club.

Then in January 2016, Bristol City parted company with Steve Cotterill following a run of one win in 12 that culminated with a 2-1 defeat at home to Preston.

Paul Clement, then of Derby County.
Paul Clement was one of the victims. He must hate the words "Preston North End." Image Getty

A month later, North End were at it again when Derby’s 0-0 draw against Preston proved the final straw for those behind the scenes at Pride Park with head coach Paul Clement duly dispatched.

The in March of the same year, Preston’s 2-1 win over Bolton at the Macron Stadium saw Neil Lennon leave the club by mutual consent.

Next up for Preston is a trip to Brighton though with the Seagulls currently sitting pretty in fourth, just four points off top spot, something tells us Chris Hughton won’t be losing any sleep just yet.

The only team to come close when it comes to causing managerial casualties is West Brom, who have played a role in the sacking of some five managers in the past 16 months – including Hughton, oddly enough.

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