Former Newcastle United and West Ham United boss Alan Pardew has stepped down as manager of Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia after a section of supporters targeted a number of their own team’s black players with racist abuse.
Pardew was named as CSKA’s technical director in November 2020 before taking charge of first-team affairs following the departure of former manager Stoycho Mlandenov in April.
Pardew’s side were beaten by local rivals Levski Sofia in the Bulgarian Cup Final last month and were met by angry supporters as they arrived for a league fixture against Botev Plovdiv a week later.
Four black footballers within the CSKA squad were the victims of racist abuse and had bananas thrown at them.
All four went on to feature in the goalless draw despite initially refusing to do so in protest over the abuse.
Sky Sports News have reported Pardew sought talks with the club’s management and has now decided to step down from his dual role with CSKA.
Pardew’s assistant manager Alex Dyer has also departed after becoming the first black coach to be employed by the club.
Why has Pardew quit CSKA?
In a statement released on the club website, Pardew said: "The events before and after the match against Botev Plovdiv were unacceptable not only for me, but also for my assistant Alex Dyer and for my players. Our players decided to play out of loyalty towards the club.
“This small group of organised racist fans, who tried to sabotage the game, are not the fans I want to coach the team in front of. That's definitely not the right way for CSKA because such club deserves a lot more."
“I would want to express my gratitude towards all true CSKA fans for their support and passion. I also want to thank Grisha and Dani Ganchev (CSKA owners) for their efforts to bring the club forward despite all the challenges and circumstances.
“It's been a privilege and honour to serve this great club. Unfortunately, my time here has come to an end.”
Where has Pardew managed before?
Pardew began his managerial career as a caretaker at Reading, before securing the job on a permanent basis.
While they lost the old Division Two play-off final in 2000/01, his side bounced back the following season, when they secured promotion - this was followed up with a fourth place finish in Division One, and a subsequent loss in the play-offs.
He then left to join West Ham, who he won the Championship play-offs with in 2005, and took to the FA Cup Final the following season - the Hammers lost to Liverpool on penalties, after a classic encounter that saw a stunning late Steven Gerrard strike take the game to extra time.
Pardew then went on to manage Charlton, before heading to Southampton, where he won the Football League Trophy.
A lengthy spell at Newcastle United followed, which started brightly before ending with a dire run of form.
Next came spells with Southampton and West Brom - the latter of which lasted a mere 21 games.
Pardew then spent eight games Dutch side ADO Den Haag, before his most recent, seven game stint at CSKA Sofia.