English League 2

Ling shocked by Gulls exit

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Mon, 29 Apr 2013 17:24:00

Mick McCarthy claims Wolves would have made at least the Championship play-offs had he been in charge at Molineux this season.

The Yorkshireman was sacked by the Black Country club last February following a 5-1 home humiliation to Black Country neighbours West Brom, a result which saw them drop into the relegation zone in the Premier League with 13 matches of the season remaining.

Interim boss Terry Connor was ultimately unable to prevent relegation to the Championship, that led to the summer appointment of Stale Solbakken who struggled to have the desired impact and was duly sacked himself in January of this year, resulting in Dean Saunders taking the reins - Wolves' fourth different manager in less than 12 months.

But Saunders has himself failed to stop the rot and, heading into the final day of the season this weekend, second-bottom Wanderers are staring at life in the third tier of English football for the first time since 1989.

McCarthy, ironically, has completed a remarkable turnaround at Ipswich having steered the Suffolk club from the foot of the Championship table when he took over in November to a place in the top half of the table.

When asked if Wolves would have been in their sorry position if he had still been in charge, McCarthy replied: "Not a chance. Nowhere near it. They'd have been at least in the play-offs."

Speaking after Ipswich's 3-1 win over Birmingham on Saturday, McCarthy added: "I had such a good time there. I loved it.

"It got cut short and we all know the reasons why, but I feel so sorry for the people there. There are people there who have been there for years and there are families that work in the club. They're lovely, lovely people and I went to see every one of them when I left.

"I'd got to know them all and I feel desperately sorry for them, because there will be major changes if they get relegated.

"They shouldn't be anywhere near it (relegation). Not a chance - not with the players they've got."

The 46-year-old, absent from Plainmoor on sick leave because of a stress-related illness since January, was expecting to take the helm again ahead of the 2013/14 League Two campaign.

But a club statement on Monday afternoon confirmed his two-season stay with the Gulls was over because of footballing reasons.

He told BBC South West Sport: "I was amazed to receive a phone call from Thea Bristow (the Torquay chairwoman) at 7.30 on Sunday night to say that my contract with the club was being terminated after all the assurances during my illness and full recovery that I would be returning as manager of Torquay."

Ling's last match in charge of Torquay was a 1-1 draw with Exeter in mid-January and in his absence assistant Shaun Taylor and then interim manager Alan Knill helped the Gulls survive.

Since the news was broken a number of Torquay players have taken to Twitter to give their views on the news.

Gulls midfielder Craig Easton said: "Disappointed to hear about the Gaffer. It was great to get the opportunity to work with him again this season, so much to thank him for.

"He took a 'punt' on me when no one else wanted to touch me. I wish him all the best for the future. I'm sure he will be successful again."

Player of the year Aaron Downes said: "Just heard the news. Want to put on record how much I appreciate everything Martin has done for me."

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