McFarland quits Torquay as TV cash crisis bites

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The Independent Football

The Torquay manager Roy McFarland has become the first managerial casualty of the ITV Digital dispute after he decided to leave the Third Division club rather than take a pay cut and lose his assistant.

McFarland's walk-out came after the board said they could no longer afford to keep his assistant, David Preece, at Plainmoor. At the same time they told the former England international defender they would have to renegotiate his contract because of the uncertainties over the future of ITV Digital.

"This was the hardest job I've had in football," said McFarland, who took over at Torquay with Preece in July 2001. "I believe we have left the club with a good squad but won't be here to see our work bear fruit."

The club's long-standing chairman Mike Bateson added: "The situation ITV Digital has put us in is the major reason behind the manager and his assistant leaving the club. I feel exceedingly bitter I have been forced into this situation."

The manager of newly promoted West Bromwich Albion, Gary Megson, has reacted angrily to reports suggesting he is ready to leave The Hawthorns having been quoted as complaining of being forced to work with one hand behind his back.

"I am dismayed at some of the comments attributed to me," Megson said. "I realise I am going to have to be much more careful and selective in what I say and who I speak to.

"I feel sorry for our supporters because I won't be able to keep them as informed for fear of being misquoted and, at times, having comments attributed to me I didn't even say."