‘I’ve got to be honest... that’s actually an illegal approach’ – Shrewsbury chief on Ipswich move for Hurst
- Credit: PA
Shrewsbury chief executive Brian Caldwell says he is disappointed by what he perceives to be an ‘illegal approach’ for manager Paul Hurst.
Ipswich Town confirmed last night that they had been granted permission to speak to Hurst, following his side’s League One play-off final defeat on Sunday, with the appointment expected to be made in the coming days after compensation was agreed for both Hurst and assistant Chris Doig.
“I got a call yesterday (Monday) morning at ten-to-ten from Paul’s agent which was a bit of a surprise to us, saying that he had had an approach from Ipswich wanting to speak to him and.
“In the meantime he had spoken to Paul who had intimated he would like to talk to Ipswich – we found out after that,” he told BBC Shropshire.
“I’ve got to be honest, that’s actually an illegal approach.
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“I don’t think it was a surprise but we were all bracing ourselves because of all the speculation – we’ve had a running commentary from some of the papers over in Ipswich of what’s been happening over the last couple of weeks.
“So while I’m not saying it’s a surprise, it’s still disappointing less than 24 hours after what’s happened on Sunday and to get a call from the agent rather than Ipswich themselves was probably more disappointing because I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it.
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“Paul is an ambitious manager and wants to manage at the highest level possible. He obviously wanted to talk to them yesterday morning when I got the call from his agent and then things moved on from then.
“I’ve got to say I was disappointed – and I told Ipswich that yesterday. I am disappointed at the way it has panned out.
“I do believe, in the past couple of weeks, stuff has probably gone on behind the scenes.
“In football there’s a lot of things behind the scenes, behind people’s backs, but sometimes you’re looking for a bit of loyalty.
“We did so much for Paul over the time, everything he wanted.”
He continued: “If anything comes up, for me personally, I’d always be honest with the chairman (Roland Wycherley) about it and speak straight.
“If something has been going on behind the scenes, that would be disappointing.
“It’s difficult, the last thing he wants to do is admit something has gone on behind the scenes as that would potentially be an illegal approach.
“To get a call from the agent instead of Ipswich yesterday morning was disappointing, but that’s football for you.
“You just have to move on to the next step – we take it on the chin and move on.”
He continued: “It has been speculated for a number of weeks now. He’s got a rolling contract with us. He flew to Dubai yesterday (Monday) and spoke to the chairman and I after we agreed the compensation and thanked us for everything.
“I wanted it over quickly. I’m sure the contract (at Ipswich) is probably in place already.
“It’s a waiting game now until we get that final confirmation from Ipswich that everything has been agreed.”
Caldwell insists goalkeeping coach Danny Coyne and physio Chris Skitt were not aware Hurst was set to speak to Ipswich until they read about it on social media.
Asked if some players will follow Hurst to Suffolk, Caldwell said: “There’s a squad a players for next season. We’ve got a good group there that realise we’ve got our backroom team as well. Again, I was a bit disappointed for them yesterday.
“We had to release the news at half nine last night as Sky were going to run it. We quickly decided with Ipswich that we needed to put something out last night.
“Danny Coyne and Chris Skitt immediately were on to me saying they didn’t know anything about it – they found out on Twitter, which is not the ideal scenario.
“I thought Paul might have contacted his backroom team, that was disappointing as well. But that’s football for you, I guess.
“Paul has been linked with every job in the country for the past year or so because of the success of the team.
“We were always looking at a plan B, me and the chairman were always conscious of that. “We can’t really do anything until we know he’s definitely away.”
Caldwell added: “It is tough, spending Bank Holiday Monday on the phone all day. It’s been a really tough 48 hours for the club. You’re almost in the Championship, one game away.
“I had a couple of conversations with the owner at Ipswich (Marcus Evans) who straightaway seemed to know Chris Doig (assistant manager) was going as well. It looks as if the approach has been for the two of them which was a surprise as well because I didn’t expect to know, if they hadn’t spoken to him, that he would want Chris Doig as the assistant. But the whole compensation package is for the two of them.
“I’m sure the contract is all in place and it’s just a bit of a waiting game now before it’s all agreed.
Caldwell admitted Hurst may have left for Ipswich even if Shrewsbury had won promotion to the Championship on Sunday.
“My personal feeling is that it’s possibly been on the cards for the last couple of weeks no matter what,” he said. “That’s my own personal feeling.
“We did so much for Paul over the time – the chairman and I had a very good personal relationship with him – we backed him 100 per cent in the transfer market and at the training ground. We tried to make sure Paul was happy and got everything we could give him.
“But I felt at the time that if Ipswich came it’s a bigger club that Shrewsbury, let’s not be kidding and that’s no disrespect to us, and there will be more money involved no matter what.”
An Ipswich Town club spokesman said: “We have total respect for Shrewsbury but feel we have conducted ourselves under EFL guidelines. We have also agreed an attractive compensation package with Shrewsbury should Paul become Ipswich Town manager.”