Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: AXE FALLS ON DAWSON; Boss Is 'Gutted' at Sack Shock ARNGROVE NORTHERN LEAGUE FOOTBALL in Association with Ron Greig CHARTERED VALUATION SURVEYORS & ESTATE AGENTS

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: AXE FALLS ON DAWSON; Boss Is 'Gutted' at Sack Shock ARNGROVE NORTHERN LEAGUE FOOTBALL in Association with Ron Greig CHARTERED VALUATION SURVEYORS & ESTATE AGENTS

Article excerpt

Byline: By ANTHONY VICKERS

NORTON have dramatically sacked boss Phil Dawson.

The Ancients' axe fell after a midweek committee meeting decided that Dawson had taken the second division club as far as he could.

It is an eyebrow raising move as Dawson, in charge since January, appeared to have turned the team around.

The pre-season promotion tips had a stuttering start that culminated in a run of eight successive defeats and it was widely expected that he may get the bullet then.

But the past month had seen a major reshaping of the squad and a marked upturn in results and performances.

"It wasn't a decision taken lightly and there was no malice in it," said Station Road committeeman Steve Lawson.

"We would like to thank Phil for the work he has done and the players he has brought in but we had to take into account results this season, where we are in the league and the general direction of the club under his management.

"We want to be in the first division and we felt that Phil could not take the team forward. We are keen to put in place a structure to secure our ambitions based on an achievable financial foundation."

Angry Dawson admitted he was 'gutted' at the axe and blasted the way it was done.

"I half expected the boot a month ago when results were terrible," he admitted.

"But not now I've turned it around. I've brought in some good new players and had the team heading back up the table and in two quarter-finals, including a juicy one that is a potential money-spinner against Sunderland.

"I'm gutted, not just at being sacked now but also at how it was done: at a meeting when I wasn't even present and then told over the phone.

"But that's football. It's a ruthless world. I wish the team well and I know they will flourish because all the pieces are in place there now."

Assistant manager Conrad Hillerby will take charge of Norton's home clash with Ryton tomorrow - and could be asked to step in as caretaker until Christmas - and admits he is surprised at events.

"The week has been a bit of blur, he said. "I've spoken to Phil and the players and we are all agreed the important thing is to maintain stability and keep the run going. …

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