RICHARD Dryden has been fired as manager of Worcester City Football Club.

The announcement was made following tonight’s disappointing 1-1 draw against Carshalton Athletic in the FA Trophy second round at St George’s Lane.

City chairman Anthony Hampson made his mind up before the match but with the trophy clash taken to a replay it hastened his decision.

Assistant manager Carl Heeley, who played more than 500 games for the club, will take charge until the end of the season.

Dryden’s contract was due to expire at the end of the campaign and a pay-off deal has been agreed between the two parties.

The cash-strapped club are currently pushing their overdraft to the limit after going nearly five weeks without income as a result of postponements due to the wintry weather.

Skipper Tom Kemp is set to leave to trim the wage bill and Dryden’s exit is likely to spark a player exodus due to their loyalty to the manager.

The manner of the announcement leaves a lot to be desired. Dryden tonight conducted his post-match interviews before being called to the boardroom to learn his fate, even though his body language suggested he knew what was coming.

Dryden was appointed as Andy Preece’s successor in December 2007, taking his first role in management following a stint as assistant to Mark Cooper at Tamworth, while City were in Blue Square North.

A mid-table finish that season was followed by a switch to Blue Square South and a whole host of changes in personnel as players came and went.

Chairman Anthony Hampson said: “We’re not happy with the results we’ve been getting. We have also looked at the general morale of the team and frankly we have had to make some very tough decisions.

“Richard has put his heart and soul into the club but as managers and business people we need to consider the future of the whole club and we have asked him to leave.

“He is prepared to take his severance pay over a period of time which we have yet to disucss with him but he understands with what we have told him.

“We are prepared to negotiate and make the payments to him over a short period of time.”