The latest contestant fired from The Apprentice believes his exit was down to Sir Alan Sugar's dislike of people from the north of England.

Rocky Andrews, 21, was sacked from the BBC1 show after he led the boys' team to a loss in a catering task.

But despite Rocky's background in catering - he owns a chain of sandwich shops - he claims he got the boot due to a "north-south divide".

"It's no surprise there was me and two southerners in the boardroom and I got fired," he told the Sun.

"I respect Sir Alan but at the end of the day he's a southerner and he always seems to employ southerners."

Three previous winners of The Apprentice have been from the south, with the only northern winner, Michelle Dewberry, quitting her position a matter of months into the job.

Andrews, Howard Ebison and James McQuillan found themselves in the boardroom after the second task of the fifth series and it was former footballer Andrews who got the sack after leading his team to a £160 loss.

"Where is this expertise of yours? You run these 15 shops, employ 150 people and sell sandwiches for a living," said Sir Alan.

"Your career at Middlesbrough was halted and you got taken off the pitch on a stretcher. This time you're off the pitch in a black cab. You're fired."

Speaking after his sacking, Andrews claimed his team had failed the task - catering for City workers - due to the attitudes' of their clients.

"If we had pitched in the north rather than the south, we'd have come through and won the task. City bosses take themselves a little bit too seriously and they don't get the northern type of thing," he added.

"If they moved the financial districts to the north, I don't think we'd be in the mess we are now, to be honest with you.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to the north east of England and straight-talking people."

02/04/2009 09:07:20