Football: Burkinshaw holds the fort as Aberdeen dismiss Aitken

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Roy Aitken yesterday became the first managerial casualty of the Scottish Premier Division season, the day after a 5-0 thrashing by Dundee United left his Aberdeen side one place off the bottom of the table.

As a player, Aitken knew nothing but success, captaining both Scotland and Celtic, and winning 57 caps. But, with two wins from 12 League games this season, his position at Aberdeen became increasingly untenable. The first-team coach, Tommy Craig, was also dismissed, and the club's football director, Keith Burkinshaw, the former Tottenham manager, will take control until a new man is installed.

Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, and Geert Meijer, Feyenoord's caretaker coach, have almost certainly escaped punishment for their touchline row during the Champions' League match in Rotterdam last Wednesday.

Officials at Uefa, European football's ruling body, indicated yesterday that the altercation, following the foul by Paul Bosvelt on Denis Irwin, has not been included in either the referee's or the official delegation's reports. But a final decision will not be taken until Thursday, when Uefa's disciplinary committee meets to review all incidents in European club competitions last week.

Frank Clark, Ferguson's counterpart across Manchester at Maine Road, had talks with the City chairman, Francis Lee, yesterday to fight for the jobs of his coaching staff. Some board members apparently wanted Richard Money and Peter Edwards sacked after City slumped into the bottom three of the First Divison.

Clark secured a promise that Money and Edwards will not be made scapegoats. "The chairman has told me we have to batten down the hatches, pull on the tin hats and battle our way through this," he said.

The West Bromwich defender Shane Nicholson faces the prospect of a lengthy ban from the game after failing a drugs test for amphetamine. The former Lincoln and Derby player, 27, gave the positive sample to the FA's doping control unit at Albion's training ground on 13 October.

Helenio Herrera, who coached Internazionale to two European Cups in the 1960s, died in Venice on Sunday at the age of 81

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