Sport

Bircham 'surprised' at sacking; fans 'devastated'

Marc Bircham says the decision of Waterford FC to terminate his contract came as ‘a surprise’ to him, and that he had only learned of his fate on social media this morning.

Bircham took to Twitter earlier this morning to advise the Blues’ faithful that he would not be in the dugout for Friday night’s crucial relegation clash with UCD at Richmond Park, as he had been suspended for a week due to a disagreement with owner Richard Forrest in a text conversation on Monday night.

 

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Soon after Bircham’s initial tweet, Waterford FC released a statement stating that they had terminated the former QPR midfielder’s contract with immediate effect.

“Waterford FC have terminated the contract of Marc Bircham. The club will be making no further comment at this time."

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Speaking to WLR this morning, Bircham said he was surprised at the decision, but could not say much more under the advice of his legal team.

I put out a statement today which I thought was perfectly fine, just stating facts and letting everyone know I wasn't there and I won't be at the game. Then I just found out on social media that they terminated the contract. Nobody has contacted me whatsoever. The owner texted me last night that I was suspended for a week and I'm not allowed contact players or staff. I was surprised this morning and even more surprised now. My official statement is that I am surprised. It's all out of my control. The decision has been made without me.”

He added that he would still encourage supporters to make the trip to Dublin on Friday night, and hopes that the players can finish the journey they’ve been on together by securing Premier Division status.

Reactions

Fans have been irate with the decision this morning with many calling on the owner Richard Forrest to move to clarify the situation.

Shane Murphy, a diehard Blues’ supporter, says it came as a real shock, especially on the eve of the club’s most important game in a decade.

“There was no inkling of this whatsoever. Normally, when there’s issues in the club - you hear something, there’d be talk, but we had absolutely zero idea that this would be happening today.”

Murphy says the fact that Bircham wasn’t even contacted by the club prior to the news of his departure becoming public is something that does not bode well.

“It doesn’t bode well. It’s a calamity. Whatever has happened, a short statement saying there’ll be no further comment won’t wash. That’s not fair to fans. When you’re looking to get the public and sponsors and all behind you, you can’t do this before one of the most important games in the history of the club. I don’t know what’s happened.”

Murphy says the news is ‘devastating’ for fans and players alike, and it now creates a huge obstacle to try and overcome ahead of a game which could truly determine the future direction of the club.

Waterford FC fans, Sept 24th 2021, pic by Noel Browne

“This is devastating. It’s very hard to see how the players can pick themselves up and go again on Friday. There’s jobs on the line. The players have woken up to the same news, they had no idea. I don’t know how they pick themselves up, I hope they can - but I don’t know.”

Bircham became Waterford manager in May and guided them to six wins in his first 12 league games, seeing them escape the threat of direct relegation, before a drop off in form late in the campaign saw them finish in 9th, behind Finn Harps.

For all the latest developments on this breaking news story, tune in to WLR.

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