Football: Non-League notebook - Fax fracas leads to departure of Robert s from Huish hot seat

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THE FINAL and most bizarre victim of the war of words between Stevenage Borough and Newcastle United was Graham Roberts, who until this week was the manager of Yeovil Town.

The former Tottenham and England defender has lost his job at the ambitious Somerset club because of his alleged involvement in sending a controversial fax to St James' Park prior to Newcastle's acrimonious FA Cup fourth-round replay against Stevenage last week.

The fax, which found its way into the Hertfordshire team's dressing-room, was apparently on Yeovil Town headed paper and reportedly contained disparaging comments about Stevenage. It allegedly said: "We are not all arseholes in the Vauxhall Conference."

When the news of the fax broke, Yeovil's first reaction was to suspend Roberts for 14 days. John Fry, their chairman, said: "We strive hard to represent our club, our town, our league and our sport in a professional and courteous manager. Matters that impinge on our good reputation are matters for disciplinary action."

Fry added that Yeovil were keen to "distance themselves totally" from the rude remarks in the fax and on Wednesday it was revealed that Roberts was leaving the club "with immediate effect". His departure is likely to lead to the loss of several key players who, like Roberts, live in London, where training sessions were held. The coach, Colin Lippiatt, will take charge of the team at Hayes tomorrow.

Roberts, who has also managed Enfield, joined Yeovil in 1995 and took them to the Icis League title and promotion to the Conference last season. Prior to moving to Huish Park as player-manager, he was with Stevenage, who upset Yeovil by delaying the release of his playing registration.