Bradford sack boss Hutchings

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The Independent Online

Chris Hutchings has been sacked as manager of struggling Premiership side Bradford.

Chris Hutchings has been sacked as manager of struggling Premiership side Bradford.

Hutchings took over the Bantams five months ago after Paul Jewell quit. But Bradford have won just one of 12 league games with Hutchings in charge and languish 19th in the division. First-team coach Malcolm Shotton was also fired.

Assistant manager Stuart McCall has been appointed caretaker manager by chairman Geoffrey Richmond.

Following a 2-0 defeat at home to Ipswich on October 21, Richmond held a two-hour meeting with Hutchings and told him his job was on the line unless he produced results.

Hutchings signed controversial striker Stan Collymore in a last-ditch bid to revive the club's fortunes.

Collymore scored a spectacular goal in a 1-1 draw at home to Leeds. But Bradford was then knocked out of the League Cup by Newcastle last Wednesday.

The final straw came Saturday with Bradford losing 2-0 at Charlton.

"The board felt that the time for a change had now come to give the future manager as long as possible to change the fortunes on the field," Richmond said. "We wish Chris every success in the future."

Hutchings' finest hour came with a 2-0 win over Chelsea at Valley Parade on August 22. But it was the Bantams' only league victory of the season so far.

"Obviously it is a great disappointment to be relieved of my duties," Hutchings said.

"However I recognize the club's future prospects are the most important thing to the board and they feel change is the best way to do this.

"I have had almost five years at the club and I still feel I have got a lot to offer the world of football. I hope to get back and be involved in the game as quickly as possible."

Bradford midfielder Dean Windass said: "I feel sorry for Chris. It's us (the players) that have got the club in this situation, not Chris. He only puts a team out on the field."

But Windass reckons that caretaker boss McCall will have the full backing of the Bradford players as he bids to halt the club's slide.

"I get on well with Stuart personally and he's got a lot of respect from the other players as well," Windass said. "Hopefully, he can come in and turn it round."

Hutchings has failed to get the best out of a much improved squad in comparison to last season.

The likes of Ian Nolan, Peter Atherton, David Hopkin, Ashley Ward, and in particular the high-profile names of Dan Petrescu and Benito Carbone, all moved to Bradford, with the latter earning a staggering £40,000-per-week.

But 43-year-old Hutchings clearly lacked the leadership ability needed for the Premiership, leaving Richmond with no choice but to finally swing the axe.