VIDEO and AUDIO: Plymouth Argyle sack manager Carl Fletcher
PLYMOUTH Argyle have dropped plans to appoint a director of football after the sacking of boss Carl Fletcher.
The relegation-threatened League Two club are seeking someone with considerable management experience to replace 32-year-old Fletcher, and as soon as possible.
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Fletcher was told of his sacking by Argyle owner and chairman James Brent only minutes after the team lost 2-1 away to 23rd-placed Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium yesterday.
Herald Sport understands the decision to part company with Fletcher was made by the Pilgrims' board of directors on New Year's Eve.
That followed a demoralising 1-0 defeat by Wycombe Wanderers at Home Park on Saturday.
However, as the important game against Rovers was so close, the club's power-brokers did not take any immediate action.
Instead, they waited until after the final whistle against Rovers before telling Fletcher he was being fired, after 15 testing months as Argyle manager.
The board of directors would have stuck by their decision, regardless of the result.
Assistant manager Romain Larrieu and first team coach Kevin Nancekivell remain in their posts for the time being.
The Pilgrims are away to second-placed Port Vale on Saturday in their next game and it is not inconceivable they could appoint a new boss before then.
Possible contenders to take over as Argyle manager include former Pilgrims' defender Keith Hill, who was only fired by Championship club Barnsley on Saturday.
Hill has a lot of League Two experience from a successful time at Rochdale, which included him leading them to promotion.
Another out-of-work boss with past Argyle connections is Gary Megson.
He started his playing career at Home Park and although he has managed at a high level before, he could be tempted to return to the club to try to lead them to Football League survival.
Other contenders could include Steve Cotterill, most recently the boss of Nottingham Forest, and former Hull City chief Phil Brown.
Fletcher's former Bournemouth manager Sean O'Driscoll is also available after being sacked by Forest last month.
The defeat by Rovers leaves Argyle in 21st position in League Two, a couple of points above the relegation zone.
However, they have played two more matches than Rovers, who are still 23rd, and bottom-of-the-table AFC Wimbledon, who won 3-2 at Torquay United yesterday.
There had been calls from fans for Fletcher to be sacked for some time, but Brent and his boardroom colleagues showed a lot of faith and patience in him.
They admired Fletcher's energy and enthusiasm, but recognised he lacked experience as a manager, which is why they decided to seek a director of football.
John Ward was set to take on that role until he was appointed manager of Bristol Rovers on December 17.
In an ironic twist of fate, Ward's first home match as the Pirates' boss was against Argyle yesterday.
Fletcher was twice the winner of the Pilgrims' player-of-the-year award before assuming his managerial role.
The club were in administration when he took over, and the former Wales international led them to Football League safety last season.
A club statement issued shortly after the match at the Memorial Stadium confirmed the departure of Fletcher.
It read: "The team's recent results have not been good enough and, with the club's Football League future paramount, the Argyle board felt a change was necessary as we head into an important part of the season.
"The owner and the board would like to thank Carl for all he has done for the club, as a player and a manager.
"Carl helped keep us in the Football League last season and we will never forget that huge contribution he made to Argyle's history.
"He leaves with our best wishes for his future career and will always be welcome at Home Park.
"The board will now seek promptly to appoint a new manager with significant experience of football management.
"The club will be making no further immediate comment."
Fletcher admitted he had taken on a difficult challenge in his first managerial role but did not regret taking up the chance, even though it did not work out as he would have hoped.
He said: "Sometimes you can't pick and choose. I would rather be one of those people that tries and fails than not try at all.
"It's a good football club and there are some good people around the place."
Fletcher told the Argyle players about his sacking before he carried out a post-match interview, which he did with dignity.
He said: "It's tough when you speak to the players. They have put a lot in, and we have been through a lot together."