Pratley upset by phone dismissal as he and Hoyle axed by Sports' committee
DICK Pratley's six-year spell as manager of Mickleover Sports has ended acrimoniously, with Pratley annoyed by the nature of his dismissal.
The former Derby County centre-half was told of his fate in a phone call after the club's committee came to their decision at a meeting on Monday night.
His assistant, former Burton Albion defender Colin Hoyle, goes too, after a disappointing first half to the club's season in Evo-Stik Division One South.
But Pratley says he leaves with his head held high after steering Sports through the most successful spell in their history.
After he took over from Martin Rowe in 2006, Mickleover first won the Northern Counties East League Cup, then won successive promotions to reach the Evo-Stik (then UniBond) Premier Division for the first time.
They stayed up in that first year but were relegated last season after losing three points due to playing an ineligible player.
This season, financial constraints have seen the playing budget cut and the subsequent departure of a number of senior players.
But with the team not having won at home since the first week of the campaign and occupying a bottom-three place, the pressure had been mounting on Pratley.
In a statement, the committee acknowledged his success.
"Mickleover Sports have announced the departure of the most successful manager in club history with the departure of Dick Pratley after six years in charge," it read.
"At a meeting, the committee were unable to give the management team a vote of confidence and as a result of a vote by 12 people that ended with nine in favour of the departure of the manager and three abstentions, there has been a parting of the ways.
"Former youth team manager Dave Chambers and Dave McKenzie have been given the short-term roles of joint caretaker managers but the club is hopeful of having a new permanent manager in place, possibly in time for the home game against Halesowen Town this weekend.
"The club would like to place on record their appreciation of the job done by Dick Pratley and his management team in their time at the club."
For his part, Pratley feels he should have been asked to attend the meeting.
"They know where I live and it's only two minutes from the ground," he said.
"They could have invited me down and I'd have been disappointed but I'd have shaken them all by the hand and wished them well.
"To be sacked by phone is, I think, disrespectful and it leaves a nasty taste.
"Colin and I have put a lot of time and effort into it. It's not just what we've done on the pitch. I've done a lot as a club man, too, like going down and shifting snow off the pitch on the day of a game.
"Colin and I were confident we would have sorted it out on the pitch but, as managers, you do stand or fall by your results.
"It was disappointing that we got relegated last year.
"There was the admin mistake which cost us three points but we had enough chances to get those three points back and didn't, so I'm not blaming it on that.
"Relegation was a blip and we hoped we could get over it but we've lost a lot of experienced players that we haven't been able to replace this season."
Even as Pratley's sacking was being discussed, another of the club's experienced players was on the move, midfielder Eric Graves opting for a second spell at Belper Town.
They had lost captain Liam Walshe in the summer and star striker Karl Ashton has left, with another forward, Alex Steadman also being placed on the transfer list due to financial constraints.
"I can hold my head high about what we achieved," said Pratley.
"We've had many good times and it's a job well done."
The saga may not yet be over, since both Pratley and Hoyle were under contract and are taking advice about their situation.