Deehan given the boot after Cup exit to Leeds

Michael Bailey Former Norwich City player and manager John Deehan was sensationally sacked as assistant at non-league Kettering Town last night - after they were within minutes of a possible FA Cup upset at Leeds.

Michael Bailey

Former Norwich City player and manager John Deehan was sensationally sacked as assistant at non-league Kettering Town last night - after they were within minutes of a possible FA Cup upset at Leeds.

The Poppies were drawing 1-1 with the League One leaders until the second period of extra time, when Kettering's resolve finally crumbled as they conceded four goals in 11 minutes to miss out on the prize of a third round tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Deehan had joined new Kettering manager Lee Harper at Rockingham Road last month - his first job since ending his latest spell with Norwich City as former boss Bryan Gunn's chief scout earlier in the season.


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But on what should have been a glorious night for Deehan, Harper and the rest of the Midlands club was overshadowed and the Town manager, who only replaced Peterborough-bound Mark Cooper in November, threatened to stand by his assistant and follow Deehan out of the door.

Harper, who revealed Deehan was sacked straight after last night's game by “someone high up in the club”, said: “There are some upset people and things have been said and that may mean I will be considering my future.

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“Things have been said to my assistant manager that he is not to come back and that he is sacked. It's unjust. I want this opportunity but I am a very sad man.

“I understand it was down to substitutions but we only had three players on the bench who could have possibly gone on the pitch. Patrick Noubissie asked to come off because his legs had gone and John had no choice but to bring him off.

“I need this job but what has been said is not fair. I have mentioned to my players it might be the end for me and every single person in our dressing room has said they are beside me.

“I was disgusted with what was said. The dust could settle but John knows the game inside out and I am not sure he would want to stay.

“I am shocked and I am flabbergasted. I am just gutted. Maybe I am na�ve for coming out with it but every single one of my players is gutted with what has been said because they respect and like John Deehan.”

Deehan made 199 appearances for the Canaries between 1981-86, scoring 70 goals and becoming a hero among Norwich fans - which was suitably followed by more success as Mike Walker's number two during the club's golden period in the Premier League and Uefa Cup during the early 1990s.

But Deehan's spell as successor to Walker ended with relegation from the top flight and his return under Gunn in January led to a similar fate last season.

And now the 52-year-old's luck has ran out at Kettering.

Harper added: “It has spoilt the night because that game was not a 5-1. It looks worse than it was but such is life and we will see what the next day brings.

“I would like to say that I have been given a fantastic opportunity. But I am an honourable man who sticks by the people who help me.

“I brought John Deehan in because I think he can help take Kettering forward. If he is not here then I don't think I can be.”

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