Football : Plymouth dismiss Warnock

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The bitter row between Plymouth Argyle's chairman, Dan McCauley, and manager, Neil Warnock, which has been simmering ever since the Devon team won promotion from the Third Division last season, finally exploded yesterday.

Warnock, who was appointed at considerable cost by McCauley in June 1995, was sacked last night. After topping the table in the early weeks of the season, Argyle are now 19th in the Second Division.

"We have got to get another manager who can keep us up," McCauley said. "We cannot afford to go back down into the Third Division."

Amid a host of petty disputes between the two protagonists, Warnock's main complaint this season has been that McCauley has failed to provide him with sufficient transfer funds.

McCauley said last night: "He [Warnock] thought he was a hero. He thought he was God and could walk on water. But you can't keep spending more money than is earned. Warnock, like a lot of other managers, thinks that it doesn't matter about finances as long as you get `what I want, when I need it, when I want it'. Football managers are not reasonable people. They try and exploit you. They realise that they are there for a short term, they want success and are prepared to buy it with someone else's money."

Warnock, who has also managed Scarborough, Notts County and Huddersfield, said he was "just devastated - it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. It's a shock, but I'm not saying too much at the moment. I'm just going to sit back a bit and clear my mind." Having supervised five promotion campaigns in the last 10 years, he is unlikely to be out of work for long.

Warnock's No 2, Mick Jones, the former Mansfield, Halifax and Peterborough manager, has not been sacked and could take caretaker control at Home Park, but is likely to follow Warnock eventually. A candidate for the vacancy is Alan Ball, who was in charge of Argyle's Devon rivals, Exeter City, before moving on to higher things.