It was an eventful Thursday afternoon for Waterford FC as, 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 that seemed to end their six-game reign at the club.
However, 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 John Sheridan walk away and having to appear in court amid the uncertainty at the League Two club, he is believed to be bemused by the current state of affairs at the RSC.
It’s 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 owner before they took a stance to bid farewell.
As the bewildered 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.
The Blues netminder was exiled from the playing squad for the past two games after an alleged exchange with Newell in particular and, after the player trained on his own on Monday, he wasn’t part of the squad for the game in Richmond Park on Tuesday last.
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 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 that there is a clear ultimatum for Power to choose either Murphy or his management team.
Waterford are due to face Longford Town in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division tomorrow in what is a massive games for the club but, after the decision of team management to refuse to take training and to walk out the WIT Arena door instead, confusion was instead the order of the day.
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.”