TERRY Dolan's three-and-a-half year reign in the York City managerial hot-seat came to a sudden end today.

In a bombshell statement, the new board of the football club announced the City chief and his assistant, Adie Shaw, had been relieved of their duties.

City said they were now "considering the best way forward" for the management of the club and a replacement could be unveiled as early as next week.

The board insists the shock decision was made for financial reasons, which suggests the club will be looking to recruit a player-manager to fill the void.

However, both Dolan and Shaw will remain employed by the club for the remainder of their contracts, although they will be required to clear their desks at Bootham Crescent.

The Evening Press understands the outgoing City chief is entitled to 12 months' notice and Shaw six months, and their salaries will be paid in full.

The club statement said: "The decision was taken by the board of directors to benefit the long-term financial position of the club and is considered to be in the best interests of York City Football Club.

"The board of directors is proposing to honour the contracts of Terry Dolan and Adie Shaw and have stated the club is not in a position to make any form of immediate financial settlement to bring their employment to an end before the expiry of their notice periods."

Despite remaining under contract to City, it is also understood there is nothing to stop Dolan or Shaw seeking jobs elsewhere.

Earlier this week, Dolan was strongly linked with the vacant managerial position at Rochdale, but the 52-year-old moved quickly to quash the rumours.

Today's news comes despite Dolan receiving widespread acclaim for guiding the Minstermen to the verge of the Division Three play-offs at the same time as the club teetered on the brink of extinction.

Earlier this month, his efforts were recognised at a north-east football awards ceremony where Dolan received a Special Achievement Award.

However, City also spent much of the previous two campaigns battling against relegation, with sections of the Bootham Crescent faithful calling for his sacking.

Club chairman Steve Beck said: "On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank Terry Dolan and Adie Shaw for their service to York City Football Club and wish them both well for the future."

Mr Dolan today told the Evening Press that he did not wish to comment at the moment.

Updated: 09:41 Saturday, May 31, 2003