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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 11:48 GMT
Hibs sack Sauzee
Director Stephen Dunn and chairman Malcolm McPherson at the media conference
Malcolm McPherson (right) says it was a difficult decision
Hibernian have sacked fans favourite Franck Sauzee after only 69 days in charge.

The Frenchman had been asked to stand down by the under-pressure board.

Hibs' announcement was made at a hastily-arranged Thursday morning media conference at Easter Road and came ahead of a vital relegation tussle with St Johnstone.

Chairman Malcolm McPherson told his club's website: "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.

The club needs a more experienced man at the helm at this stage
Hibs chair Malcolm McPherson
"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."

McPherson admitted that his board had made a mistake by appointing such an inexperienced manager and that they had not given Sauzee enough time to prove himself.

"However, our duty is to the club and, unfortunately, the run of results over the past two months has been extremely disappointing," said the chairman.

"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.

"Franck was informed of our decision last night following a lengthy discussion by the board and accepted our view with his customary good grace.

"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.

" Finally, everyone at Hibernian thanks Franck Sauzee for all that he has done for us, and wishes him nothing but success and happiness."

Franck Sauzee (right) looks worried as Hibs lose to Motherwell
Pressure was mounting on Sauzee (right)
Sauzee took over on 14 December, with Donald Park as his assistant.

They were appointed after Alex McLeish left to take over at Rangers.

Sauzee had no managerial experience but had been influential as sweeper and captain in the twilight of a career that had seen him play for Olympique Marseille, Monaco, Atalanta, Montpellier and the French national side.

The 36-year-old retired as a player to concentrate on management, but Hibs failed to win in their 11 league games under his stewardship.

They also lost the CIS Insurance Cup semi-final to First Division Ayr United, their only victory coming in a Scottish Cup replay against Second Division Stranraer.

The Edinburgh side lie second bottom of the Scottish Premier League.

Bottom side St Johnstone have narrowed the gap to nine points and the two clubs meet at Easter Road on 2 March.

Former Hibs boss Franck Sauzee
"I just hope to have more time"
Hibs chairman Malcolm McPherson
"This is the hardest decision we've ever had to take"
See also:

21 Feb 02 |  Scot Prem
Williamson is Hibs target
21 Feb 02 |  Hibernian
No Sauzee fears for Hibs
07 Feb 02 |  Scotland
Bonetti and Sauzee under fire
14 Dec 01 |  Hibernian
Hibs choose Sauzee
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