Ritchie Sacked

Last updated : 22 November 2006 By Dave Moore
Ex- Latics boss and playing hero Andy Ritchie has been sacked as manager of Barnsley with the unusual reason of not having spent enough money to strengthen the team. An official statement was issued by the Bantams as follows:

"It is with regret that the Board of Barnsley Football Club has announced its decision to terminate the contract of manager Andy Ritchie with immediate effect. The decision by the Board follows the failure to resolve differences with the manager concerning the need the strengthen the first team squad to ensure survival in The Championship.

In the close season, following the club's promotion, the Board were of the opinion that the first team squad required strengthening in terms of additional proven quality players and proper cover for key positions. The Board had earmarked funding specifically for squad strengthening and set as a key objective for the manager the delivery of this objective. It will be clear to fans that the desired strengthening of the squad has not been achieved and that the football club is operating largely with the same first team squad as last season except that Sam Togwell and Michael McIndoe have replaced Stephen McPhail and Chris Shuker.

Fans will also be aware that the manager has followed an approach that gives preference to that players who gained promotion last season to keep their places in the current campaign. The Board has had repeated meetings with the manager to encourage team strengthening alongside the need to show appropriate loyalty. It has been the Board's opinion throughout that ensuring competition for places and having different tactical options through the squad composition was essential to survival in The Championship.

Recently, the Club entered into contract negotiations with the manager and as part of these discussions was seeking a commitment to squad strengthening. Rather than creating a basis for a compromise in views, these discussions served to emphasise the difference in opinions on how the Club can best maintain its Championship status. As a consequence, the Board felt that it had no alternative to the decision it has taken today. It is extremely disappointing to have arrived at this point.

The Board are grateful to Andy Ritchie for his part in winning promotion for the Club to the Championship. The key challenge now is to maintain that status. Coaching of the first team squad will be undertaken by Academy Manager Simon Davey until a new manager is appointed. Chief Scout, Martin Wilkinson, continues his work in identifying new players to strengthen our Championship campaign."

It is not currently known if Rick Holden, Ritchie's second in command, will still be retaining employment at Barnsley.