Sunday 15 September 2019

Gill slams Dundalk

‘If I was judged on results, as is the norm, I do not think there would have been any question mark over me continuing in my role as manager’

JOHN GILL last night lashed out at his former employers after Dundalk unveiled Sean Connor as their new manager.

Connor -- who landed the job after Jeff Kenna turned it down -- will take charge of the Oriel Park club on their return to the top flight next season after Gill led them to promotion as First Division champions only to be subsequently told that he would have to re-apply for the post.

The Dubliner is particularly unhappy that, after three weeks without contact from the Lilywhites after posting his application, he received a phone-call only at 12.0 yesterday to inform him that the position had been filled.

"The circumstances of my departure have been strange to say the least," said Gill. "Three years ago I was mandated to get the club promoted, which I have achieved.

"In fact, in year one, we won a play-off only to be denied promotion for off-the-field reasons which were outside my remit and beyond my control.

"In year three, we won the championship. This was in spite of the fact that an already-pressurised situation was exacerbated by speculation over my position which could have been easily nipped in the bud by those in a position to do so but was not.

"My players and staff deserve great credit for achieving our goal of promotion in the face of these trying circumstances.

"I feel that my results in my three years at Dundalk speak for themselves -- 64 wins, 23 draws and 25 defeats in 112 league games.


"If I was judged on my results, as is the norm, I do not believe there would be any question mark over me continuing in my role as manager."

"People have asked me if I am bitter about the way I have been treated and I have said I am not, as bitterness is a trait that I do not want in my character.

"I would much prefer to remember the three great years that I have had, managing what is a fantastic football club and the special bond that I had built up with a unique band of supporters.

"Had the circumstances been right, I would have relished the opportunity to establish the club as a force in the Premier Division and to restore it to its rightful place at the forefront of Irish football.

"However, what has gone on since we won the championship is, I believe, unprecedented and unprofessional. I could go into a lot of things that happened behind the scenes but if I was to do so it would only fuel a situation which has become a bit of a circus."

In defence of their decision to re-advertise the post, Dundalk CEO Gerry Matthews said: "We've reached a new level and we feel that we owe it to Dundalk Football Club, and we owe it to the people of Dundalk, to try to get the best person for the job."

The fall-out between Gill and the Oriel Park club opened up the opportunity for Connor to get back into football -- 12 months after he parted company with Bohemians.

Jeff Kenna was the preferred choice of the Dundalk board, but he turned down the position.

Paul Doolin entered the frame late in the game, but Dundalk decided to go with Connor, who last week secured an out-of-court payment from Bohemians following his acrimonious departure from Dalymount Park.

Connor has signed a one-year deal.

The terms of the job state that he will be assisted by former Dundalk player John Whyte and he must report to the board on team selection issues when requested.

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