NEWCASTLE United began the search for their fourth permanent manager in two years, a decade ago this week, after Sam Allardyce was unexpectedly dismissed by owner Mike Ashley.

Allardyce was dismissed less than three hours after he conducted a routine midweek briefing with the North-East press.

He was made aware of his fate when a satellite television station telephoned him and asked him to comment on the sudden turn of events.

Allardyce won only eight of his 24 matches after replacing Glenn Roeder in May, and the Magpies were languishing in 11th place in the Premier League.

Allardyce, who was accused of pioneering a negative playing style that jarred with the majority of Newcastle fans, said: "I am disappointed to be leaving Newcastle, but I wish the club all the best for the future."

Tributes were paid to New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary, the man who conquered Everest with Sherpa Tenzing, following his death aged 88.

The Queen was said to be "very saddened" by the death.

He shot to fame when he scaled the world's highest mountain along with Tenzing Norgay on May 29, 1953, only days before Elizabeth II's coronation.

After returning from the summit, the famously matter-of-fact climber greeted a fellow expedition member with the words: "Well, George, we've knocked the bastard off."

Buckingham Palace said the Queen was sending a personal message of sympathy to Sir Edmund's widow and family.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said of Sir Edmund: "He was a truly great hero who captured the imagination of the world, a towering figure who will always be remembered as a pioneer explorer and leader."

Back in the North-East, a motorist was left with minor injuries after his truck fell 70ft from a bridge.

The Isuzu Trooper wagon lost control after it was involved in an accident on the A1 (M) near Chester-le-Street.

Thirty eight-year-old Steven Leightley’s vehicle was left as a mangled wreck on the south embankment after it had broken through a crash barrier above the River Wear, falling from the bridge.

The father-of-two, from Bedlington, Northumberland, said: "When the truck landed, it was on all four wheels, but my leg was trapped. There must be someone looking out for me up there, it is a miracle.''

A freak storm caused damage to trees and property in the Ferryhill Station area.

There were reports of a tornado-style wind rattling roofs in and around the Ferryhill and Chilton areas. At least one chimney stack toppled to the ground and branches were strewn across roads.