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Wadsworth Departs
 Bobby Robson v's the press 3.7.01 

United staged a press conference at short notice on Tuesday, in the St.James' Park media centre. A visibly angry Bobby Robson appeared, dressed in shorts and T-shirt, to face the assembled press and TV reporters. 

He began by symbolically throwing down a bundle of (local) newspapers on to a table.

Robson read out a fitness report on his first team squad, confirming that the likes of Cort, Dyer, Shearer and Lee would not be available for the Intertoto cup campaign. He then moved on to the subject of his former Head Coach:

On the departure of Wadsworth:

"We've lost a very competent coach who for some reason was subjected to some criticism at the end of last season that was not justified, unfair, not correct and out of order. Yes, the team had a blip. We were all involved in that, but that blip was not caused through Mick Wadsworth's coaching ability. 

"After two years of sterling work, is that how people wanted to thank him? We lost 40m of senior talent through injury last season and somehow Mick was to blame.

"We've lost a very solid, reliable guy and I'll tell you this - I have an administrative staff, I have a medical staff and I have a technical staff and a lot of people at this club are absolutely devastated."

On Saints boss Stuart Gray:

"Mick has gone because of that clever bugger down there at Southampton - Stuart Gray. He is a young and inexperienced lad handed a big job and has still managed to manipulate Mick Wadsworth away from this club. I think i'll go and send him a congratulatory telegram to let him know my feelings.

"On Monday we were very confident that Mick would be here to start pre-season training alongside me but, because of the way that Southampton's approach was reported, he has gone.

"I am very bitter about it and it has been handled with no class whatsoever. Mick arrived at the stadium on Monday ready to commit his future to the club, but now he has gone."

On his opinion of Wadsworth's abilities:

''I sat next to Alex Ferguson last Saturday for five hours (at Wimbledon) and we watched a bit of tennis and talked football, and I think so much of Mick Wadsworth that if I had not been manager of Newcastle and I knew Alex has lost Steve McClaren to Middlesbrough, I would have recommended Alex take him on board.

"That's how highly I rate him and I don't mistakes like that when it comes to judging people's professionalism."

On his relations with Freddy Shepherd:

'"I'm very, very upset about the whole situation and I know the chairman is equally disappointed. It is rubbish to suggest this has caused any problem between us and we get on very well. He has always supported me and Mick's departure will not affect our relationship.

"The chairman and I will not fall out about it; the chairman and I get on very well. We have no problems. He supports me and I inform him of what I'm doing. I try to squeeze as much out of him as I can; he plays as much ball with me as he can, and there's no problem between the chairman and I about Mick Wadsworth leaving.''

Robson made no further comment and left without answering any questions. 

NB: Quotes compiled from a variety of sources, not necessarily complete or in the order that they were uttered. 

Bobby also made numerous comments that indicated he held the local media responsible for Wadsworth's departure, specifically the Evening Chronicle. With Alan Oliver on holiday, John Gibson was singled out for criticism after penning the original article for Monday's paper, and Robson seemed particularly angered by the accompanying piece with quotes from toon fans welcoming the news. He appeared to accuse the Chronicle staff of twisting and misrepresenting the views of fans in an Anti-Wadsworth vendetta.

Well, he may think that, but I can confirm that the following comments made by your author (Biffa), were accurately reported:

 "I think most fans will welcome Mick Wadsworth's departure - but the key for the club now will be who replaces him as Bobby Robson's assistant.

"Rightly or wrongly the perception amongst fans had been that Wadsworth was not up to the job at Newcastle.

"He didn't have any experience at the top flight and during last season some of the signings he'd been linked with stirred up resentment."

Shepherd Quote:

"We wish Mick all the best, he has moved on for his own reasons but we'd like to thank him for what he's done for the club."

Wadsworth Quotes:

Evening Chronicle:

"I have left purely for financial reasons - I have always enjoyed working with Bobby Robson and he is still my role model and an inspiration to me.

"I know he is bitterly upset that I am leaving but I think he understands the reasoning behind my decision.

"In terms of money and long-term security the Southampton offer was just too good to ignore. Nobody seems to know what will happen to the long-term coaching set-up at Newcastle and I did not feel my future role at the club was clear."

Southampton Daily Echo: 

"There is a great sense of unity here at Southampton and joining them as they enter a new era is a great challenge and represents an exciting time ahead for myself and the club" 

''I am disappointed at some of the criticism which has come my way during my time at Newcastle because the club is in a far better position than when I arrived - I feel I have played my part in that revival and am proud with what I achieved at United.''

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Page last updated 25 June, 2009