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Leeds dismiss manager McAllister

Gary McAllister
McAllister had seen his Leeds side lose their last five matches

Leeds United have sacked manager Gary McAllister after 11 months at the club.

The club made the decision following a run of five successive defeats which dropped Leeds to ninth in League One, five points off the play-offs.

"The decision was made to ensure that the new manager has the maximum number of games possible to move the club up the table," read a statement.

McAllister, 43, who replaced Dennis Wise in January, saw his side lose 3-1 at MK Dons in his last game in charge.

Leeds said they had made the decision to dismiss McAllister to give his successor time to "identify any new players he thinks can strengthen the current squad" before the transfer window opens in January.

I'm sure Ken Bates has got somebody lined up. He won't have made this decision without having somebody ready to go

Danny Mills, former Leeds player
"The club would like to place on record its thanks for the loyal service given to Leeds United by Gary since joining the club as manager in January 2008, and wish him every success in the future," added the statement on the club's website.

"The club will make no further comment on a replacement until we are in a position to make an appointment, which we are committed to doing as quickly as possible."

Saturday's defeat at Milton Keynes marked a fourth consecutive league defeat for the Elland Road outfit - a losing streak compounded by defeat at Histon in the FA Cup last month.

Leeds sit 15 points behind League One leaders Leicester, who they face on Boxing Day, and five points off Oldham in sixth place, with 10 wins from 21 league outings.

"Everybody expected Leeds to walk the league but it doesn't quite happen like that," former Leeds player Danny Mills told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"He's almost become a victim of his own success of last season," he said, referring to Leeds' run to the final of the play-offs, where McAllister's men lost to Doncaster.

"If you look at it from the board's point of view, they want to be back in the Premier League, not just the Championship. They've taken the view that it hasn't really kicked on from last season.

"I'm sure Ken (Bates, Leeds chairman) has got somebody lined up. He won't have made this decision without having somebody ready to go into the game against Leicester on Boxing Day."

Gary McAllister with Tresor Kandol
McAllister's Leeds were defeated in the 2008 play-off final
Former England manager Graham Taylor agreed that McAllister's failure to build on last season's play-off campaign had determined his fate.

"If they'd just missed out on the play-offs last season, it would have been better for Gary," Taylor told 5 Live. "Getting that group of players to go again is difficult.

"There seems to be a little bit of a change of trend in football. Some older, more experienced managers are now coming back in.

"I can't really come up with any names but there could be the argument that a more experienced manager may be the answer."

Ray Fell, chairman of the Leeds United Supporters' Club, expressed his surprise at the decision to sack McAllister.

"I realise the pressure the club's under but coming in to Leicester City on Boxing Day and the January transfer window, I'm rather surprised by the timing of the decision," he told BBC Sport.

"Some of the fans were getting frustrated but it's a minority that start that chanting, and most fans would understand that McAllister tried to bring some flair into the team.

"I do feel sympathy for the manager, the players have let him down. I sincerely hope whoever comes in is someone with the charisma and personality to lift the players and get them playing."

Last week, McAllister told BBC Leeds he did not think the situation was at "crisis level", but admitted it was the lowest ebb of his managerial career.

McAllister, who turns 44 on Christmas Day, was formerly in charge at Coventry City from 2002 until 2003, and spent six years as a player at Leeds in the 1990s.

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see also
Doncaster 1-0 Leeds
25 May 08 |  League One

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