Walsh and Ellis pay the price

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Mike Walsh and Sam Ellis yesterday became the first managerial casualties of the new Endsleigh League season, which is just 23 days old.

Walsh, the longest-serving manager in the Third Division, parted company with Bury, after five years in charge, by mutual consent.

Ellis also found himself out of work at Third Division rivals Lincoln City, who promptly replaced him with the former Chelsea and Queen's Park Rangers defender, Steve Wicks. Ellis was sacked after six games without a win.

By coincidence, Walsh replaced Ellis at Gigg Lane and guided Bury to a Wembley play-off final last May; but fans staged a demonstration following the 5-0 home defeat by Plymouth at the weekend.

Terry Robinson, the Bury chairman, said: "Mike can hold his head up high. He has done a brilliant job the past five years but has just not been able to get us over the final promotion hurdle.''

Stan Ternent, the former Hull City manager, has been placed in charge of the team's affairs for tonight's Coca-Cola Cup tie against Chesterfield.

Wicks' title at Lincoln will be head coach, the 38-year-old concentrating solely on playing matters. Wicks, who will work without a contract, is the 10th man in 10 years to take charge of the Sincil Bank club.

Iain Dowie yesterday completed his pounds 475,000 move from Crystal Palace to West Ham, 24 hours after helping Northern Ireland secure a point against Portugal in a European Championship qualifier.

The deal will, in fact, only cost the Hammers pounds 125,000 as the Dutch striker Jeroen Boere, rated at pounds 350,000, is going to Selhurst Park in exchange for Dowie. Boere scored six goals in 24 games after arriving from Go Ahead Eagles, and had loan spells at Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion.

Leeds United are still interested in Faustino Asprilla, who is Colombia's squad to play England tomorrow night - despite the striker's suspended jail sentence for a weapons conviction. Leeds, who have made a pounds 4m bid for the 25-year-old forward, will discuss the situation with Asprilla's Italian club, Parma.

"As far as I can see, his punishment won't effect his ability to play football in this country,'' Howard Wilkinson, the Leeds manager, said yesterday.

Falkirk have signed the former Rangers, Hearts and Scotland midfielder, Derek Ferguson, who was out of contract at Sunderland, for pounds 150,000.