Scottish Premier League strugglers Hibernian FC have sacked Franck Sauzée just 15 games into his managerial career.
The 36-year-old playmaker became a favourite among the club's supporters after a free-transfer move from Montpellier Hérault SC in February 1999. An instrumental figure in the club's third-place finish last season, Sauzée retired from playing to succeed Rangers FC-bound Alex McLeish in December.
The combination of the veteran Frenchman and Donald Park, his experienced assistant, was described as a "management dream team" by a Hibernian spokesman on Sauzée's appointment. But his lack of coaching experience has shown and the club have slumped to second from bottom in the top flight.
Chairman Malcolm McPherson admitted it had been a painful decision to tell Sauzée his short reign was over. "This is the hardest decision I and my fellow directors have ever had to take, and it is one we have taken with nothing but sadness," he said. "All of us admire, like and respect Franck. His passion for the club, and his enthusiasm for Hibernian, have rightly made him a hugely popular figure with our supporters.
"However, our duty is to the club, and unfortunately the run of results over the past two months has been extremely disappointing. Of equal importance, performances over the past two weeks have become unacceptable. It is our belief that the club needs a more experienced man at the helm at this stage to steady us through a difficult period."
Looking for a new manager
Moves have already begun to find Sauzée's successor, with the board apparently having targeted at least one manager in a current club job. McPherson said: "The process of finding a successor has begun today, and we have made, or are making, contact with a number of clubs in Scotland and elsewhere. There will be no further comment until there is positive news to report."
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