Sir Alan Sugar has no time for 'ordinary people'

Fired Apprentice contestant Howard Ebison insisted today he was being professional, not just a "nice guy".

The 24-year-old retail business manager was booted off the show by Sir Alan Sugar after project managing the losing team on the shopping channel task, choosing 'safe products' to sell.

Sir Alan said after firing Ebison: "A very tough decision there to a very nice guy, but I haven't got time for just ordinary people."

Ebison hit back: "It's not about being nice, I think the way that some of the contestants behaved has been appalling and totally unprofessional and I think it would be a mistake to confuse niceness with being professional."

But the aspiring Apprentice, who clashed with contestants Mona Lewis and Philip Taylor on the show, refused to elaborate on the "appalling behaviour" of his rivals.

He said: "They've done it all by themselves, they don't need me to stitch them up."

Ebison insisted he had no problem with any of his team mates turning on him in the boardroom to protect themselves.

"I think anyone who believes that they've made strong, deeply rooted friendships during the filming of The Apprentice is naive because you do need be able to criticise anyone at the drop of a hat", he said.

But Ebison even had kind words for mouthy contestant Debra Barr, who bossed him around in the task to rebrand the seaside town of Margate and refused to let him be project manager.

He said: "I'm very fond of Debra. We didn't get off to a great start, I don't think she makes the best first impression but she really wins you over very quickly and effortlessly."

Ebison's team Ignite, with Kate Walsh and Lorraine Tighe, lost the shopping channel task after the rival team Empire outsold them by less than £200. He was accused of choosing safe products and not taking risks.

At the end of the show he vowed to become more of a maverick.

He said: "If I only take one thing from The Apprentice it's that I need to think twice, am I being too cautious when making decisions?"

But he added: "I've returned to my original employer - not that maverick!"

Ebison tipped Walsh to win the show, claiming she was his biggest competition on the show.

But he hit out at rival Tighe, saying: "Sir Alan fired me for not taking enough risks, he's taking a big risk himself by putting Lorraine through to the interviews. I don't think he realises just how big that risk is."