Jim Gannon‘s brief but colourful tenure at Motherwell ended this morning after the Fir Park board lost patience with his “repeated refusal” to sign a contract.
Chairman John Boyle questioned Gannon’s commitment to the club and claimed his relationship with directors and staff had become “untenable”.
Motherwell suffered their fourth successive defeat on St Stephen's Day when they lost 3-1 at home to St Johnstone but they remained in the top six of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and Boyle insisted results had no bearing on his dismissal.
The Fir Park chairman instead pointed to problems off the park relating to Gannon’s working relationships with colleagues.
Boyle said: “It is deeply regrettable that the board have felt it necessary to part company with the manager at this stage of the season but we have reached a situation where we felt there was no other option.
“Generally, results on the field have been satisfactory since Jim Gannon was appointed and the board wishes to make it clear that today’s decision is not related in any way whatsoever to recent results.
“Over the past couple of months it has become abundantly clear that the manager was not fully committed to the club and, despite our best efforts, he repeatedly refused to sign a contract.
“Relations between the manager, staff and directors deteriorated to the extent that the situation became untenable.”
The former Stockport manager did not sign a contract after taking over days before Well‘s season kicked off on July 2 with a Europa League qualifier against Llanelli.
Gannon, made redundant by Stockport‘s administrators in May, continued to avoid signing the deal although he often spoke publicly of his long-term plans for the club.
It is understood the London-born Irishman agreed terms before the Llanelli game and signalled he would sign the contract, but raised a different issue each time the papers were presented.
Improvements were made to his terms, including allowances for travel to and from his Cheshire home, but the contract remained unsigned.
It is also believed that those in charge of the club considered Gannon‘s attitude to some staff and several players as unsatisfactory and evidence that he did not want to remain for the long term.
Gannon claimed after Saturday‘s defeat that managing the team was like “juggling soot” and laid the blame on his players for their run of seven games without victory.
“I don’t think any formation or any starting XI would make any difference,” Gannon said.
“I can only direct them and lead them so far and it’s up to them to take responsibility on the pitch.”
Gannon, who has the right of appeal against his dismissal, was believed to be consulting a solicitor this afternoon.
Youth development chief Gordon Young will now take charge for Wednesday‘s SPL clash against Hearts at Tynecastle and Motherwell are not expected to rush into making a replacement.