Wadsworth a controversial character

MICK Wadsworth was a controversial character during his short stint of eight months in charge of Colchester United.A surprise appointment from Scarborough in January 1999 - the Yorkshire club were relegated out of the Football League at the end of that season - Wadsworth did manage to keep the U's in the old Nationwide Division Two.

by Carl Marston

MICK Wadsworth was a controversial character during his short stint of eight months in charge of Colchester United.

A surprise appointment from Scarborough in January 1999 - the Yorkshire club were relegated out of the Football League at the end of that season - Wadsworth did manage to keep the U's in the old Nationwide Division Two.

But he resigned in unusual circumstances within a few weeks of the new campaign. At the time, he said that he wanted to move back nearer to his northern home, only to pop up as coach of Crystal Palace a few days later.


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Some of his signings also rose a few eyebrows, not least a batch of French recruits and also midfielder Brian Launders. That deal ended in a court case between the Essex club and Launders' agent Barry Silkman.

Now Wadsworth is back in the firing line again, after former Gretna manager Davie Irons heavily criticised him for his role in the downfall of the Scottish Premier League outfit.

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Wadsworth was appointed Director of Football at Gretna in July, 2006, at which point Irons believes that they were a doomed club.

When Irons became the new Gretna boss, in succession to Rowan Alexander, he claimed that Wadsworth brought in his own players rather than secure the players that he had earmarked.

Irons pulled no punches when he spoke about Wadsworth's role to a Scottish newspaper, The Daily Record, this week.

He said: “You could trace the demise (of Gretna) back to then. When you look through his record, Mick was at Scarborough, Oldham, Huddersfield and Carlisle, so he had experience of going into administration.

“His role as director of football wasn't needed at that level of football.”

Gretna's fate was effectively sealed when Brooks Mileson withdrew his backing, and the club slid into administration in March, with debts of £4m. Wadsworth lost his own job last month.

Irons had taken over from Alexander in March, 2007, and kept Gretna on course for promotion to the Premier League. But he was unable to bring in his own players that summer.

He continued: “Unknowns such as Fabian Yantorno, Henry Makinwa and Abdul Osman came in. Players who nobody had seen were signed, and that just didn't add up.”

U's supporters with a good memory might spot a few similarities with some of Wadsworth's new signings at Colchester nine years ago - like Frenchmen Steve Germain and Fabrice Richard, and Brazilian Jose Antunes Fumaca, who made just one appearance for the U's before mysteriously ending up at Newcastle for a few months.

Irons said: “Mick dismantled the team. He seems to have come out of the whole thing quite well but a lot of the problems have come from what he was doing.

“He was responsible for all the players coming in and for those leaving too. He did too much too quickly. He was getting rid of a lot of players he didn't need to because they could have done a good job for Gretna.

“Mick brought in foreign players on bigger money than the boys already there.

“We were flying in the First Division and then, suddenly, the team was dismantled halfway through the season. I thought that was absolutely bizarre,” added Irons, who is now the boss at Morton.

At the start of this week, administrators at Gretna admitted that they felt the Raydale Park side had ceased to exist as a football club.

And Gretna duly resigned from the Scottish Football League on Tuesday.

And so another chapter in the colourful managerial career of Mick Wadsworth has come to an end.

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