WEYMOUTH have sacked manager Steve Johnson after just four and half months in the job.

Poor results and ‘a general lack of progress’ have been blamed for the former Latvia under-18 coach’s departure.

The Terras have won just one of their last seven league matches, a run that has all but ended their Conference South play-offs hopes.

Johnson, whose brother Gary is boss at Yeovil, was dismissed along with club secretary Liz Bell after a hastily arranged board meeting at the Wessex Stadium yesterday.

Coaches Roy O’Brien, John Waldock and Gary Borthwick will take charge until the end of the season and the trio began their reign with a 3-1 over Wimborne in the Sammy McGowan Trophy last night.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Terras owner and chairman Martyn Harrison.

“I like Steve Johnson as a person and he’s become a good friend. I really wanted things to work for him.

“He’s been living in my house over at Bowleaze and his children have just started school down here.

“But results have been poor and I couldn’t see any progress. We are building for the future and I just didn’t see anything positive coming long term.

“Contrary to what a lot of people think, we have not slashed the playing budget at the club since Steve Claridge left.

“We gave Steve Johnson as much support as is humanly possible and have backed every decision he has made and provided the finances.

“In fact the squad is bigger now than it’s ever been but it just wasn’t working. We were becoming increasingly concerned that things weren’t quite right in the dressing room either.

“I’m a very ambitious person and I won’t settle for second best although that’s not meant as a reference to Steve Johnson in any way.

I want to be at the top of the league and I couldn’t see that happening if things stayed the same.

“There simply were not enough positives for me and the other board members and something needed to be done.

It’s not a decision we have taken lightly and sacking Steve Johnson was a lot harder than sacking Steve Claridge.

But it’s a unanimous board decision and outsiders have not influenced us.

“It remains to be seen whether it’s the right move. It may be something that comes back to haunt us and I’ll be the first to hold my hand up if that’s the case.

“But this is a business and I want what’s best for Weymouth Football Club and I’m not a very patient person.”

Meanwhile a shocked Johnson told Echosport: “It’s really too early for me to say anything. I need time to take in the news and time to collect my thoughts.”

Harrison said there were no plans to advertise the vacancy and instead, directors will make contact with a number of previous applicants although Shaun Teale and Mark Morris are already emerging as contenders

“We have a few people we want to talk to,” Harrison added, “but we will not be rushed into anything. We have nine games left this season and personally I wrote off any chance of making the play-offs three weeks ago.

“John Waldock, Roy O’Brien and Gary Borthwick will take charge for now and we’ll see what happens.

What we are now looking for is a strong man who can motivate the players we’ve got and get the best out of them.

“We have the basis of a very good side and with a few additions in the summer, we are definitely promotion material.

“But I want to be top from the start of next season and so we have to get a man who can get us there and keep us there.”

Meanwhile Harrison blamed Bell’s departure on a ‘behind the scenes reshuffle’

He explained: ‘All I want to say on this matter is that Liz Bell has left the club’s employment because of a change of direction staff wise.”

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