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FOOTBALL: NON-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK: McDermott hired for Woking rescue job

BRIAN McDERMOTT, the former Slough Town manager, is back in business in the Football Conference. He has been given the task of resurrecting the fortunes of Woking, following last week's dismissal of John McGovern.

McDermott, the former Arsenal winger, was an innocent victim of Slough's financial and administrative problems in the summer, when the Berkshire club were voted out of the Conference. Now he has assumed responsibility for steering the Cardinals, as Woking are known, away from their unaccustomed position at the bottom of the league.

"As far as I'm concerned, the league table is upside down," Woking's chairman, Jon Davies, said yesterday. "We've brought McDermott in to settle things down. He has plenty of experience, and he knows the local scene."

Since his appointment McDermott has presided over draws at home to Yeovil Town and, on Tuesday, away to the Conference leaders, Cheltenham Town. "There have been some encouraging signs," Davies, who intends to discuss a contract with his new manager in the near future, added.

After six defeats in the first seven games of the season, McGovern became the first Woking manager to be sacked since 1981. Last season's third- place finish was not enough to save the former Nottingham Forest captain, who replaced the high-profile Geoff Chapple in July last year.

"Geoff Chapple was a hard act to follow, but we were unhappy with the way the team was playing," John Taylor, Woking's vice-chairman, said last week. "McGovern promised to get new players in, and the funds were available for that, but he seemed unable to attract them."

It has cost the Surrey club about pounds 70,000 to pay off the 18 months left on their former manager's two-year contract. However, that expenditure has been covered by a fee of pounds 80,000 received from Fulham for the wing- back Kevin Betsy. His price will rise to pounds 125,000 if he makes sufficient first-team appearances for the Second Division side.

Betsy has been replaced at Woking by the former Tottenham full-back Brian Statham, who has arrived on loan from Gillingham. Another former Spurs player, the 35-year-old goalkeeper Tony Parks, has joined Barrow on loan from Burnley.

Rushden & Diamonds lost the leadership of the Conference to Cheltenham in bizarre circumstances on Tuesday. Leading 1-0 at Leek Town with five minutes remaining, the match was abandoned following a loud explosion and subsequent fire at a chemical works adjacent to Leek's Harrison Park stadium.

Visiting Rushden supporters were unhappy that they were evacuated from the ground via the exit nearest the blaze, rather than by a safer way out. There were no reported injuries to spectators, however.

Derek Mountfield, the former Everton and Aston Villa centre-half, has been appointed manager of the Dr Martens League club Bromsgrove Rovers, in succession to Steve Daley, the former Wolves and Manchester City midfielder.

Mountfield had been playing for another Dr Martens club, Moor Green, since his release by Walsall in the summer. His new club, Bromsgrove, have sold the ex-Crystal Palace forward Steve Taylor to their Worcesterhire neighbours, Kidderminster Harriers, for an undisclosed five-figure fee.