JEAN Tigana was dramatically sacked as manager of Fulham last night and coach Chris Coleman appointed manager for the remaining five games of the season.
Frenchman Tigana, told by chairman Mohammed al-Fayed last month that his three-year contract would not be renewed beyond 30 June, was axed after three successive defeats.
Former Welsh international Coleman, forced to retire from playing last year due to a serious leg injury, has taken the reins just a fortnight after ruling himself out of the running for the imminent vacancy.
Fulham admitted the early announcement of the former Monaco manager’s departure had an unsettling impact on the squad and claimed that change was needed to ensure the club did not slip back into the Nationwide League.
An official club statement read: "Since the announcement that Jean’s contract would not be renewed next season, the club have suffered a number of significant defeats and it has been decided that a change in management is necessary to enable the players’ to focus their attentions on the task ahead.
"The club believe that Chris Coleman is the man best equipped to do this in the short term."
Al-Fayed has bankrolled Fulham’s rise to the top flight, but became frustrated as the Cottagers failed to compete with the elite of English football.
Fulham currently lie 15th in the top flight - just six points clear of West Ham, who occupy the third and final relegation place.
Al-Fayed said: "It has been a difficult time for us over recent months and the season has not ended the way that I would have liked. However, the most important thing is that we ensure a successful conclusion and look forward to next season in the Premiership."
Peter Ridsdale’s pursuit of "other avenues" yesterday led to his decision to sever all ties with Leeds United. Ridsdale stood down as chairman at the end of last month on the same day the club announced increased losses of 78.9million, with Professor John McKenzie taking over the Elland Road helm.
Ridsdale initially chose to remain on the board as a non-executive director, and to assist in what was described as a ‘handover period’ to McKenzie.
But less than three weeks on, Ridsdale has now ended his 16-year association with Leeds, departing from both the plc and football club boards. In a statement, McKenzie said: "Peter has other business interests that he wishes to pursue and we have agreed that it is in the best interests of both parties that he stands down from the board of Leeds United and of the football club."
Tottenham Hotspur go into this afternoon’s Premiership clash with Manchester City with their now-familiar injury woes.
Just when Glenn Hoddle’s injury problems seemed to be easing, 8.1million centre-half Dean Richards’ comeback has again been put on hold.
Earlier this week, Hoddle believed his most expensive signing would return after four games out through suspension and a back injury, but he has been left out of the squad to face Kevin Keegan’s side at White Hart Lane today.
TODAY (7.45 unless stated)
Tottenham v Manchester City (3.00)
Nationwide Football League
Division 1: Ipswich v Portsmouth (5.15); Reading v Nottingham Forest. Division 2: Northampton v Stockport. Division 3: Rochdale v Bury (3.00).