Widnes sack Kelly after heavy home defeat

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Widnes have sacked their coach, Neil Kelly, in the wake of being beaten 56-8 at home by Wigan on Saturday.

Widnes have sacked their coach, Neil Kelly, in the wake of being beaten 56-8 at home by Wigan on Saturday.

Kelly, who had been in charge at the Halton Stadium since 2001, was emotional after the match, accusing some of his players of being "gutless'' and threatening to weed out what he called "the dishonest people'' in his squad. But it is he who has gone, bringing to an end a tenure which has had its highs as well as some notable lows.

Kelly ended a successful stint at Dewsbury to steer Widnes into Super League and their first season in the top flight was a huge success, with Kelly finishing as Super League Coach of the Year in 2002. This year has seen some heavy defeats, however, including a club record 70-4 loss at Hull in May.

"Yesterday's result and the performance were the last straw and something had to change,'' said the Widnes chairman, Tony Chambers. "Neil has been with us for three years and we've had two good seasons, but for some reason this year the team he has put together has not performed for him. We hope to appoint a caretaker coach within the next couple of days and then we will be looking at who is available."

Stuart Spruce, recently appointed as Kelly's assistant, is likely to be in charge for Widnes's next game at Huddersfield on Sunday.

Kelly is now without a job in the game, having resigned from his other role as Welsh coach last month in order to spend more time with his family.

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