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Hammond sacked

American football
Bobby Hammond was dismissed as head coach of the London Monarchs yesterday, less than 48 hours after the Monarchs' worst-ever defeat, a 37-3 humbling in Frankfurt on Saturday night.

He will be replaced by Lionel Taylor, the team's offensive co-ordinator. Explaining the decision, Gareth Moores, London's general manager, said: "Bobby has given his all for the team, but we felt a fresh face and new direction were needed."

Hammond's tenure has not been a happy one. Last year, in his first season in charge, the Monarchs achieved just four wins from 10 games, amid rumours that the former New York Giants running back and his players did not always see eye to eye. Indeed, following the first game this season, an overtime defeat by the Scottish Claymores, three players were released as Hammond sought to assert his authority.

The final straw may have been the treatment afforded William "Refrigerator" Perry on Saturday. Perry was on the field for just a handful of plays as the Frankfurt Galaxy pushed the Monarchs around at will. He is clearly not in perfect physical shape, but remains an effective run-stopper at this level. Perry was not injured: the decision to leave him on the sidelines was Hammond's and it defied logic.

Taylor possesses the credentials for the job: a former wide receiver with the Denver Broncos and Houston Oilers, he earned two Super Bowl rings as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also has experience as a head coach, having been in charge of Texas Southern University for five years in the 1980s. He takes over in time for Saturday's visit to Dusseldorf, where the Monarchs will play the Rhein Fire.

The 59-year-old Kansas City native has already promised more playing time for Perry and believes that, despite their poor start, the Monarchs can still compete for a World Bowl berth.