Waterford FC have sensationally terminated the contract of manager Marc Bircham ahead of Friday’s SSE Airtricity Relegation/Playoff against UCD just minutes after the Londoner had revealed on his social media that he was been suspended by the club for a week.
Bircham, who was just one game away from saving the club from relegation to the First Division that looked likely for so long, took over at the helm following the departure of both Kevin Sheedy and Mike Newell last May.
With the club after picking up just six points in their opening 15 games and staring relegation in the face, Bircham steered the Blues within two points of automatic survival, before this shock announcement.
Whilst there has been some local speculation since Friday’s final game of the season that the Blues boss was considering his future ahead of new season regardless of relegation playoff result, the news of his sudden sacking has come as a massive shock.
The Blues boss spoke out after having no Under 19 players available for last Friday’s clash with St. Patrick’s Athletic amid claims that they were “some reason or another were told not to train with us”, before later stating the matter would be “addressed”.
Bircham said, “We wanted the Under 19 to come in and train with us, and for some reason, I’ll put it down to miscommunication, that they were told not to come into training because they had Under 19 training that night for a sixth placed cup final on Saturday that’s probably more important. We’ve got to review that situation anyway. For some reason there was a mix-up between the College and the Academy”
This led to a since deleted Waterford FC Academy statement been issued on social media in reaction to comments made by the “first team manager” that stated that “no academy staff member had contact from the first team or refused permission for any Under 19 player to attend training.”
In a crazy turn of events, the Blues boss alleges that he was involved in a “brief text conversation” with owner Richard Forrest on Monday night, and made the public aware of his “one week suspension” in a twitter post at 7.53am this morning (Tuesday).
Bircham’s tweet read….
Waterford FC have since confirmed that “have terminated the contract of Marc Bircham. The club will be making no further comment at this time.”
The Waterford News & Star understands that Bircham received confirmation that the remainder of his two-year contract, which was announced last August, was terminated by an early morning email after the initial statement was made.
A further statement is expected be issued by the club later today surrounding the events. Bircham’s assistant Dave Bell, along with Shane Nolan and Dirk Heinen who are expected to be in charge for Friday’s massive game against UCD – a game that the Blues must win to secure Premier status.
*We’ll have more on this story as it develops throughout the day.