Football: Queen's Park Rangers dismiss Houston and Rioch

The Queen's Park Rangers manager, Stewart Houston, and his assistant, Bruce Rioch, were last night sacked by the First Division club following a board meeting at Loftus Road.

Rangers are currently 13th in the Nationwide League after a 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough on Saturday. The announcement is bound to prompt speculation that Rioch is set to take over as the new manager of Sheffield Wednesday.

A club statement read: "Following a meeting of the Board of Queen's Park Rangers this evening, at which Stewart Houston was present, the club has reluctantly decided to release both Stewart Houston and Bruce Rioch from their current positions with immediate effect. The directors do not intend to make an immediate decision about the position of manager, but a caretaker manager will be appointed in the interim period."

Rioch, the former Middlesbrough, Bolton and Arsenal manager who has been linked with numerous jobs since moving to Loftus Road, said: "I was at home watching the Louise Woodward case on television when I turned on Ceefax and read that I had been sacked.

"I am bitterly disappointed they didn't have the courtesy to let the manager phone me or that they didn't phone me themselves before I read it on television. That tells you a lot about the people [at Loftus Road]. I think my record as a manager stands up to scrutiny and I have always had a hankering to get back to a hands-on job as a No 1," Rioch added.

"I think the directors at QPR may have been concerned that I have been linked with so many jobs since I went there and decided they wanted to clear up the position."

Roy Aitken yesterday became the first managerial casualty of the Scottish League 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. The 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 at Pittodrie.

Another embattled manager, Manchester City's Frank Clark, had talks with the Maine Road 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's slump into the bottom three of the First Division.

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.

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