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Fulham sack Sanchez

Ex-Northern Ireland boss Lawrie pays the price for poor results

By Steven Beacom

Lawrie Sanchez was today sacked by Fulham. It will be a crushing blow to Sanchez, who left the Northern Ireland manager's job earlier this year to pursue his Premiership dream.

Unfortunately for Sanchez that dream turned into a nightmare as Fulham slipped into the relegation zone following four defeats in the last five matches.

Last weekend Fulham lost 1-0 to Newcastle with Joey Barton scoring an injury time penalty for the Geordies. That result effectively sealed Lawrie's fate.

It left Fulham in 18th place in the Barclays Premier League with 13 points from 17 games.

For chairman Mohamed al Fayed quite simply that wasn't good enough. The threat of relegation looms large and the Harrods owner has decided to do something about it.

Just like last season in fact when he booted out Chris Coleman and appointed Sanchez on a temporary basis.

Sanchez kept Fulham in the top flight and earned himself a full-time role at the Cottage.

He was offered a one year rolling contract estimated to be worth around £750,000 - and decided to leave Northern Ireland, despite on many occasions declaring that he would see out his contract which was due to finish at the end of European Championship qualifiers.

When Sanchez left Nigel Worthington replaced him and over the weekend he is expected to sign a new deal with the IFA to keep him as the national team boss.

Worthington may want to sign the contract that little bit quicker now that Sanchez is available.

As the Northern Ireland manager, Sanchez restored pride in the team and inspired famous victories over England, Spain and Sweden.

When he took over the Fulham job on a full-time basis, he signed Northern Ireland stars David Healy, Aaron Hughes, Chris Baird and Steve Davis.

One wonders what will happen to that quartet now that Lawrie has gone. Former Fulham favourite John Collins, who resigned as manager of Hibs yesterday, is in the mix to get the job.

Coaches Ray Lewington and Billy McKinlay have taken charge of the team but don't expect Fulham to hang about in appointing a new manager.

In a statement Fulham said: "Fulham Football Club today announce its decision to replace Lawrie Sanchez as manager of Fulham Football Club with immediate effect. The club would like to thank Lawrie for helping the Club through a difficult period at the end of last season, and thank him for his service over the last eight months."

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