Hartlepool United have sacked manager Dave Jones with the club facing relegation from the English Football League for the first time in their 109-year history – just days after a desperate appeal from club president and television presenter Jeff Stelling to remove the former Cardiff City and Wolverhampton Wanderers boss. Defeat to Barnet saw Pool drop into the League Two relegation zone, leaving them two points from safety with two games remaining.
The 60-year-old was appointed in January but has won just 13 points from a possible 51 to leave the club's Football League status hanging by a thread. Matthew Bates has been put in caretaker charge for the final two matches of the campaign against fellow relegation-threatened side Cheltenham Town and already-promoted Doncaster Rovers, and will be supported by Billy Paynter, Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher.
But it was a rant on live television by Stelling during Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday programme which the 62-year-old anchors, that provoked the move. The ex-Countdown presenter was appointed honorary president of Hartlepool in January 2016 and expressed his anger at his club's current predicament during an impassioned plea – which included a promise to resign from his position to ensure Jones was removed – following the weekend's 2-0 defeat at Victoria Park.
"I am wearing the Hartlepool United tie today," he said. "We've lost at home; we're in the relegation places. This is not personal but Dave Jones for god's sake for the good of the club walk now, go now. You have got 13 points from 51, this is not your level of football. [Director] Pam Duxbery, the chairman Garry Coxall if he won't walk, sack him. If it means me resigning as president I do so happily. Do it now, do it today."
Leyton Orient filled the first relegation birth in League Two after they dropped into the Conference after losing 3-0 to Crewe Alexandra. The club are currently subject to a winding up petition by HMRC in June while many of their employees have not been paid for many months by absent owner Francesco Becchetti – who has put the club up for sale.