Sport’s strangest sackings and resignations

Sport’s strangest sackings and resignations
By Eurosport

01/11/2011 at 01:04Updated

High school American football coach Shawn Abel has just been forced to resign under huge pressure after his expletive-strewn pre-match team talk was leaked onto an internet video website.

Abel admitted "a lapse in judgement" and took his loss of a job on the chin, despite admitting that "my initial thought was 'I can't believe the sanctity of the locker room has been violated'."

He is far from the first manager - or player - to lose their jobs in bizarre circumstances, however. We look at some of the strangest sackings and resignations ever seen in the world of sport.

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Glen Hoddle fired for religious views

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle must rue the day he ever agreed to give an interview to Times journalist Matt Dickinson in January 1999.

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More accurately, he must rue his decision to give an honest answer to a question about his religious beliefs, which led to him saying that disabled people are being punished for sins committed in a previous lifetime.

"You and I have been physically given two hands and two legs and half-decent brains. Some people have not been born like that for a reason," he said. "The karma is working from another lifetime. I have nothing to hide about that. It is not only people with disabilities. What you sow, you have to reap."

After several days of outraged follow-up in the media (labelled a witch-hunt by a prominent disabled rights campaigner) the FA fired Hoddle, whose career has never recovered.

He protested that his remarks had been misinterpreted, but it's pretty galling that he had the cheek to complain given all those nasty things he must have done in his previous life.

FA Cup-winning Tommy Docherty sacked for affair with physio's wife

Tommy Docherty's (pictured, top-right) five-year spell as Manchester United manager wasn't especially distinguished on the field, but it was certainly one of the most entertaining in a rollercoaster sort of way. His time at the club came to an end a few months after he won the FA Cup when it emerged that he was sleeping with the wife of the United physio. He was fired in a blaze of publicity, something unimaginable today; equally unimaginable, however, is a United manager keeping their job after leading the club to relegation, as Docherty did in 1974.

Micah Grimes fired for leading side to 100-0 win

Dallas Covenant School's basketball coach Micah Grimes hit the headlines in the US in 2009 when he was fired after his team of schoolgirls beat local rivals Dallas Academy 100-0.

Grimes was apparently fired for letting the victory margin get out of hand against a clearly under-strength opponent, and for subsequently not apologising to the opposing team (despite getting his team to shake their opponents' hands after the game).

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Julian Alsop sacked for naked banana incident

Oxford United star Julian Alsop (pictured, right, during a spell with Cheltenham) was fired after a changing room play fight with a 16-year-old youth team player got out of hand in 2004.

Alsop, 31 at the time of the incident, reportedly started whipping the naked 16-year-old with a towel, then chased him onto a training pitch and attempted to indecently assault him with a banana.

The boy, fearing for his long-term prospects, did not initially report the incident, but it came out after his parents heard what happened.

Chile manager sacked for disrespect

Chile coach Juvenal Olmos was fired in 2005 after a telephone row with the head of the country's football federation. "I always said the coach would stay until the day he disrespected us (the directors)," said Reinaldo Sanchez, president of the National Association for Professional Football. "I believe that now he has done so."

George Burley forced out of table-topping Hearts

The Scot took over as manager of Hearts in June 2005, but left due to mutual agreement after just 10 matches - despite the fact that his men had won eight of those games and stormed to the top of the SPL in doing so. Eccentric chairman Vladimir Romanov had just announced plans to take over full ownership of the club, and his rocky relationship with Burley was said to be behind the split.

Woody Hayes sacked for punching opponent in throat

Woody Hayes was the legendary coach of Ohio State University's American football team for an astonishing 28 seasons, winning three national championships and a host of other trophies.

But his tenure ended in the worst possible fashion when he punched one of the opposition team's players in the throat during a match in 1978 that was being broadcast live on national television. The punch sparked a mass brawl, from which Hayes escaped to charge onto the pitch and begin abusing the referee.

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Real sack title-winning Capello for having too good a defence

Fabio Capello joined Real Madrid for a second spell in July 2006 with the club at a low ebb, suffering from one of their longest ever trophy droughts. The Italian led his new charges to their first Liga title in four years, but was sacked because he had done so through the shocking decision to build a decent defence rather than a team who went on the attack.

John Terry sacked for allegedly having affair with team-mate's wife

John Terry was sacked as England captain following a meeting with manager Fabio Capello at Wembley in 2010. News had emerged of an alleged affair between Terry and Vanessa Perroncel, the long-term girlfriend of England and former Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge. "As a captain with the team, John Terry has displayed extremely positive behaviour," said Capello. "However, I have to take into account other considerations and what is best for all of the England squad."

Marty Schottenheimer fired after near-perfect season

NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer took a so-so San Diego Chargers team and made them into Super Bowl contenders, winning 14 matches and losing just two in 2006 as they won their third consecutive AFC West title. He was fired after the team lost their divisional play-off match, however, making him the 'best' American football coach ever to get the axe.

Andy Gray and Richard Keys fired for off-air sexism

In January of this year Sky Sports' top presenter and pundit were both axed for their sexist remarks made about, among others, assistant referee Sian Massey. Colleagues seemingly disgruntled by the pair's boorish behaviour over many years leaked footage of their crass comments onto the internet. Gray was given the chop after media storm that lasted several days and Keys resigned soon after.

Gareth Southgate fired for keeping Boro within a point of the top of the table

Football chairmen often use the old chestnut "football is a results-based business" when justifying the firing of managers. Not so with former Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate, who was given the chop in 2009 just hours after his side beat Derby, and while Boro were just a point off the top of the table. "I felt that the league table was actually more favourable than some of our performances," Gibson explained, adding that he didn't think Southgate would get the club back in to the top flight. Boro have languished in mid-table obscurity in the second tier ever since.

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Ahn Jung-Hwan fired for scoring a goal

South Korean star Ahn Junh-Hwan scored the golden goal against Italy in the 2002 World Cup which put the Italians out of the tournament - a result which occurred in hugely controversial circumstances after joint hosts Korean received the benefit of several questionable refereeing decisions.

The whole of Italy fumed at what they perceived as a national outrage - and it cost Ahn his job. He had been on loan at Perugia, and club president Luciano Gaucci promptly sacked him for his World Cup efforts.

Kari Arnason sacked for wanting his wages

Cash-strapped Plymouth Argyle look like they've finally pulled themselves out of the financial mire, but was so bad that players and staff were regularly asked to defer their wages. But when Iceland international Kari Arnason player refused to defer his payment yet again after going without wages for eight months, the club fired him.

"You do a club a favour by playing without wages for seven months and then get sacked," said the 28-year-old.

"I wasn't expecting goodwill as football is a business. But you don't expect to be fired for not signing a document saying you will not get paid in June.

"It is a brilliant job but if you're not getting paid you have to ask some serious questions."

Arnason has since signed for Aberdeen.

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And here are the ones who got away:

Barry Fry survives 37 sackings by one club

In his two spells with the club in the 1980s and 1990s, Barry Fry's relationship with Barnet chairman (and former ticket tout) Stan Flashman was always a true love-hate affair.

Fry was reportedly fired and reinstated eight times by Flashman, a claim he denies - saying, incredibly, that it was far more.

"I've always said the most important relationship at any football club is the one between a manager and chairman," said Fry. "And when I was at Barnet, Stan Flashman sacked me 37 times in nine years!"

Max Mosley weathers orgy storm

The son of Sir Oswald Mosley, head of the British Union of Fascists before the Second World War, rose to become president of the International Automobile Federation in 1993. That spell looked as if it would come to an end when a newspaper falsely claimed that he had participated in a Nazi-themed sadomasochistic orgy in 2008.

Mosley weathered the storm, however, and later successfully sued the paper after proving to the satisfaction of the court that it was a nothing more than a harmless sadomasochistic orgy with no Nazi overtones whatsoever.

Mosley eventually stood down at the end of his term as President in late 2009.

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