It was an eventful Thursday afternoon for Waterford FC.
After saying goodbye and wishing some players the very best for the rest of the season, management duo Kevin Sheedy and Mike Newell put their gear bags over their shoulders and exited stage left from the WIT Arena as their six-game reign at the club looked to be at an end.
Shortly after their departure was brought into the public domain, a U-turn followed with a club spokesman denying that both men had resigned, but with players still under the impression that they left, their future is now believed to be in hands of Blues owner Lee Power.
With Power having his own issues with his other club Swindon Town that saw manager and former Blues boss John Sheridan walk away amongst other ongoing issues at the League Two Club, he has yet to issue a statement on any of the happenings from the past two weeks.
It is believed that this latest development on the training ground occurred after Sheedy and Newell refused to engage in a meeting with goalkeeper Brian Murphy on the instruction of the Blues hierarchy before they took a stance to bid farewell.
As the Blues players, left stunned by their actions, took to the training field under the watchful eye of fitness coach George Bell and goalkeeper coach Dirk Heinen, it wasn’t long before news of what happened on the training ground was revealed.
MURPHY OUT IN THE COLD
The Blues netminder, Brian Murphy, was left out of the match day squads for the last two games following an alleged exchange with management and after training on his own on Monday, he was left out of the squad for the second game in a row, for Tuesday’s trip to Richmond Park.
In a game that saw Waterford slip to their fifth defeat of the season at the hands of St. Patrick’s Athletic, the off the field problems mounted after Newell was sent off by Cork referee Graham Kelly for the second time this season. A lengthy suspension is expected as a result.
The situation surrounding Brian Murphy forced the player to issue a statement last Saturday where he confirmed that he was “fit and available” to play for the club, but that he was “disappointed” by the decision to leave him out of the squad, but relationships have strained in the past few days.
Murphy, and other players, are believed to have raised serious concerns with team management in the build-up to last Friday’s loss to Bohemian FC with regards to aspects of the tactical preparation for games as well other issues regarding training.
With Waterford sitting second from bottom in the table with just one win to their name, that coming in a 2-1 success over Derry City, Murphy’s exclusion from the squad has certainly raised eyebrows, and now it seems to have come to a head once more earlier today.
Waterford are due to face Longford Town in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division on Saturday in what is a massive games for the club, but the decision of team management not to take training today meant that confusion was certainly the order of the day on a sunny Thursday afternoon on Suirside.
The Blues are continuing to maintain their stance that the management team are ‘committed to the club’ and are ‘looking forward to the visit of Longford Town.’
A Waterford FC statement this evening read: “Kevin Sheedy Manager of Waterford FC would like to refute the baseless rumour that he and Mike Newell have resigned from their positions with the Club. They are both committed to the club and look forward to the visit of Longford Town FC on Saturday next.”
Waterford FC have released a statement saying that Kevin Sheedy and Mike Newell are ‘both committed to the club.’ Photo: Noel Browne.