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The strangest (and funniest) sackings of all time

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The strangest (and funniest) sackings of all time


Thursday 12 February 2009 12:00

Tony Adams isn’t the only man to get the boot in strange and/or unfortunate circumstances, as Rob Burnett discovers…


Poor old Tony Adams. Getting the sack is never nice, but apparently Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie broke the news to Big Tone while he was at his five-year-old son’s birthday party.


Let’s hope it was before young Atticus Adams blew the candles out, so he could wish for his dad to get a new job.



Big Tone prepares to break the bad news about the train set



The timing from Storrie was bad, but Adams is far from the only man in football to have suffered such a tragicomic sacking. Here’s half a dozen other howlers.


Trevor Francis, Crystal Palace


Palace chairman Simon Jordan insists he doesn’t enjoy sacking people. “I don’t think it’s funny or clever to sack people,” he said once, despite the fact that he’s on his eighth manager in his nine-year tenure at the club.


Maybe he doesn’t think it’s clever, but one of his sackings was certainly funny. “Trevor Francis didn’t take it very well,” Jordan recalled. “He just sat there quietly and said ‘But it’s my birthday’. I had no idea. What could I do? I said ‘Many happy returns, Trev,’ and gave him his P45.”


He’s all heart.


Leroy Rosenior, Torquay United


Former Fulham, QPR and West Ham striker Leroy Rosenior made the record books in 2007 for his all-too-brief stint in charge of Torquay United.


Owner Mike Bateson brought Rosenior back to Plainmoor for a second spell in charge in May 2007 but just 10 minutes after he had been unveiled to the press Rosenior was told the club had been sold and he was sacked.


“I did the press conference on Thursday, I did all the interviews, and within 10 minutes, Mike called me to let me know he had sold the club. It was something that I knew was going to happen – but I didn't think it was going to happen after 10 minutes," he said.


Barry Fry, Barnet


When London ticket tout ‘Fat’ Stan Flashman bought Barnet FC in 1985 and saved the club from going out of business, he was hailed as a hero. Under his chairmanship the club initially flourished, even winning promotion to the Football League in 1991


But behind the scenes, all was not well, especially between Flashman and manager Barry Fry. The pair frequently came to blows, once after Fry had told Flashman “you don’t know a goal line from a clothes line.”


It was rumoured Fry was sacked and reinstated eight times. but Fry knows the truth is very different. "I've always said the most important relationship at any football club is the one between a manager and chairman,” he said last month. “And when I was at Barnet, Stan Flashman sacked me 37 times in nine years.”



Barry fails to take his latest sacking seriously



Martin Jol, Tottenham Hotspur


The 'jolly' Dutchman must be one of very few managers to find out he was being fired during a match.


Despite proving himself as one of Tottenham’s best coaches in years, guiding the team to two consecutive fifth place Premier League finishes in 2006 and 2007, a bad start to the following season meant the club began to look around for alternatives, settling on Juande Ramos.


Chairman Daniel Levy and the board had already decided to give him the old heave-ho before a UEFA Cup match against Getafe at White Hart Lane. They were going to inform him after the tie, but the news leaked out and a friend sent a text to Jol with the bad news midway through the game.


Bad news travels fast and soon the whole ground knew and began chanting for their fallen boss.


Jol returned the compliment later, saying succinctly: “I shall never forget the Spurs fans.”


Terry Howard, Leyton Orient


Comedy sackings aren’t the sole preserve of football managers. The players are by no means immune, either – as Leyton Orient defender Terry Howard found out to his cost in 1994 when he was fired at half-time by manager John Sitton.


After a particularly dire first half Sitton let rip at his players in the dressing room. “You’re a f***ing disgrace!” he screamed at his charges as he began to crack up completely. “When I tell you to do something, you do it!”


He saved most of his wrath for Howard though, telling him: “You come and see me tomorrow, you’ve got a fortnight’s notice because that performance is the straw that broke the camel’s back.”


The whole thing was captured on film for Channel 4’s documentary A Club for a Fiver and after the incident Sitton uttered his thoughts in front of a camera.


“Terry’s an ex-teammate of mine who I like very, very much,” he said. “He’s good company when you go for a night out – but as a manager and a coach he’s not what I’m looking for.


“I may have lost a friend,” he concedes with a masterpiece of understatement.


Ahn Jung-Hwan, Perugia


South Korean player Ahn Jung-Hwan became a national hero when he scored the golden goal that knocked Italy out of the 2002 World Cup and set up a quarter-final clash for the co-hosts with Spain.


But not everyone was quite so happy. Luciano Gaucci, president of Italian club Perugia where Ahn was on loan, sacked the forward for his part in Italy’s elimination.



Ahn puts South Korea in the quarters, and himself out of a job


Gaucci told Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport: “That gentleman will never set foot in Perugia again. I am a nationalist and I regard such behaviour not only as an affront to Italian pride but also an offence to a country which two years ago opened its doors to him.


“I have no intention of paying a salary to someone who has ruined Italian soccer.”


Four Four Two


That Trevor Francis one is great.

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