Magpies sack manager Taylor

Robert Taylor said he was “devastated” after being sacked as Dereham Town manager.The former Manchester City and Wolves striker was at the helm during arguably the most successful period in the club's history.

Robert Taylor said he was “devastated” after being sacked as Dereham Town manager.

The former Manchester City and Wolves striker was at the helm during arguably the most successful period in the club's history.

In his three years as boss, the Magpies twice won the Norfolk Senior Cup and also became established as a leading Ridgeons League Premier Division club, looking to climb to higher leagues.

But the club's committee lost confidence in Taylor and felt some players were not behind him, and he was dismissed on Monday night by 10 votes to one.

The news came two days after Dereham lost 4-3 to Sheringham in the Norfok Senior Cup semi-finals - but the club insisted the shock defeat by the Anglian Combination club was not the reason for Taylor's sacking.

Taylor said he was “absolutely gutted” at the news and believes he has been “pushed out of the club for no reason whatsoever.”

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Club chairman Simon Barnes said he would not get in a public “slanging match” with Taylor. He said it had been “the hardest decision of his football life” to sack Taylor and he heaped praise on his achievements in the three years.

But Barnes added: “We have to make the decisions which are right for the football club.”

Rumours have been circling that some players would not stay at the club if Taylor remained and that the ex-pro was looking to move to another management post.

However, Taylor fiercely denied both allegations. “I have got this club at heart and I had no desire to move to any other club. The rumours are false. I live in Dereham and my kids go to school in Dereham, and that is why I moved here. I spent a long time with the Norfolk FA about setting up a Football In The Community scheme at Dereham. Why would I have done that if I wanted to go elsewhere?

“I just do not understand it. They said the players were not behind me and I had lost the confidence of the dressing room. But players have rung me and they are absolutely gutted,” said Taylor, who said all the squad had agreed to sign on for next season to play for him.

Taylor said the whole club is buzzing with the first team in seventh spot in the Ridgeons Premier Division, the A team third and the reserves top of their respective leagues.

“When I came here three years ago the team was languishing near the bottom. We survived that season and then came eleventh and then sixth last year, and we could easily finish fourth this year.” Taylor added: “There is no evidence of a lack of confidence in me and it has been done on hearsay.

“I just cannot understand it. I have worked my socks off for this club for three years, and I have been sacked on the basis of rumours.”

Taylor insisted he had had no intention of wanting to leave Dereham and had the backing of players.

In a statement, the club said: “Dereham Town Football Club has parted company with the first team management team of Robert Taylor and Steve Culyer, following a club committee meeting. It was felt the club needed a change of direction. We thank them for their management over the past three seasons, during which time the club has enjoyed a successful period.

“The decision was not taken as a result of the Norfolk Senior Cup semi-final defeat. We wish Mr Taylor and Mr Culyer all the very best for the future.”

Barnes added: “Lots of things were taken into consideration. It has been the most successful time the club has had and Rob has been brilliant. But the club is bigger than Robert Taylor or Simon Barnes or anyone on the committee. We have to make the decisions which are best for the club.”

Dereham's next game is a league match at home to Newmarket on Saturday when former Norwich City youth player Adam Gusterson will be in charge. He has been appointed manager until the end of the season.

After leaving Carrow Road to join the Magpies, Gusterson has become a key part of the team, is currently skipper and, despite being a defender, is the leading scorer.

Chairman Barnes said: “He has a good knowledge of the game and the boys respect him, which is a big part of the job. He has been appointed until the end of the season and we will then look at the situation for both parties. If he has done a good job, and I am sure he will, he will be in the hot seat.”