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Eriksson deeply sorry for leaving County as ill-fated dream ends

Sven-Goran Eriksson (pictured) apologised to Notts County supporters last night after speaking for the first time since resigning from his post as director of football.

The former England manager walked away from the role just seven months into a five-year contract following the club's takeover by Ray Trew.

He revealed he had done so with a heavy heart but also to help the Football League's oldest club stave off the threat of administration.

"Time was short for us and in the end I signed the agreement to leave the club because the alternative would maybe have been for the club to disappear," said Eriksson, who reportedly waived a £2.4m pay-off after his Meadow Lane exit.

"I don't want to be the man to take Notts County into administration; that's why I signed the agreement yesterday.

"I am very sorry because I like the club and everyone in the club. They are very nice, very genuine people.

"I am deeply sorry for the players, the coaches working in the stadium, hard-working, down-to-earth people, and for the fans. It was a dream for them, and they have suffered big problems. I am sorry this happened at the last moment but it's going on as a club, even if it is not in the Premier League."

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel admitted he sympathised with Eriksson after his ambitious plans for the League Two club failed to come to fruition.

Eriksson's departure came after Trew's acknowledgement that he will not be prepared to bankroll the Swede's dream. Eriksson, who will retain the title of joint life president of Notts County, had been hoping former executive chairman Peter Trembling would be successful in finding the investment required to fulfil his ambition of taking the club from the Football League's bottom tier to the Championship, and later the Premier League.

He said following his appointment in July that it would be "the biggest achievement you can do in football".

Schmeichel, one of the high-profile names brought to the club under the ill-fated Munto Finance regime to help kick-start County's rise, said ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup fifth-round tie at Fulham: "I do feel sorry for him. I knew how much the project meant to him and how he would dearly have loved it to work.

"Sven is a great man and it was obviously very sad to see him go. He spoke to us briefly just to thank us for our efforts, and we obviously thanked him for his, and we wished each other all the best."

Notts County will be at full strength for the fifth-round tie at Craven Cottage. Caretaker boss Dave Kevan has named the same starting line-up for the past two league matches, so the likes of Ade Akinbiyi, Jamie Clapham, Graeme Lee, Matt Hamshaw and Luke Rodgers will hope to force their way into contention.