Football: Gritt is sacked by Brighton

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The Independent Online
BRIGHTON and Hove Albion yesterday dismissed their manager, Steve Gritt, after winning just four matches in the Third Division this season.

Albion's chairman, Dick Knight, was due to hold talks last night with a possible replacement. Gritt, who took over at Brighton in December 1996, guided the Sussex club to a dramatic escape from relegation last season. They are currently second from bottom in the Nationwide League, with only Doncaster beneath them.

Knight, who took control of the club after a protracted take-over battle last year, said: "No one who cares about the Albion will forget Steve's tremendous contribution to our survival last season. This season, given our difficult circumstances, feasibly we were only seeking to preserve our League status by a safe margin, but to date that comfort zone has eluded us.

"The board has shown patience but feel that it is in the best interests of the club, both short-term and long-term, to make a change now."

The career of the West Bromwich Albion defender Shane Nicholson is in doubt after he refused to take a training-ground drugs test.

Nicholson, 27, first fell foul of the Football Association's drug test unit in October when a training-ground sample revealed traces of amphetamine. He was charged with misconduct but, when he went before an FA disciplinary hearing in November, his defence was that on a night out his drink had been spiked.

That was accepted, although Nicholson was warned about his future conduct and told he would have to submit to target testing during future months.

Nicholson has already provided one sample for the FA's drug unit, but when the unit turned up at the Baggies' training ground on Monday Nicholson refused to supply a sample, in breach of the undertaking he had given at the disciplinary hearing three months ago.

The civil action by the Bradford City striker Gordon Watson against Kevin Gray, of Huddersfield Town, will take place on 19 October. The trial, expected to last 10 days, is likely to be heard in Leeds or Sheffield.

Watson has not played since his leg was broken in two places after a tackle by Gray in the fourth minute of a First Division match at Valley Parade on 1 February last year.

Manchester City are trying to sign the former Hartlepool and Motherwell left-back Rob McKinnon from the Dutch club, Twente Enschede. He is also wanted by Hearts.

The Football Association has dropped a poaching charge against Wolverhampton Wanders after Shrewsbury Town withdrew a complaint about an illegal approach to a former Shrews youngster.