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Marc Bircham breaks silence as Waterford focus on promotion/relegation play-off game

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Marc Bircham

Marc Bircham

Waterford manager Marc Bircham has departed from the club. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Waterford manager Marc Bircham has departed from the club. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

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Marc Bircham

It’s hardly surprising that the decision to sack the manager on the week of the game has overshadowed the build-up to Waterford’s promotion/relegation play-off with UCD tonight.

Marc Bircham’s admission yesterday that he is thinking of attending the game means that eyes will be on the stands, as well as on the pitch, at Richmond Park for a game of huge importance.

Bircham broke his silence on his exit by speaking to Talksport, initially suggesting there wasn’t much to say about his departure before going on to say quite a lot.

The headline comment was Bircham’s claim that his reluctance to play George Forrest – the son of the club’s owner Richard – was a factor in the deterioration of relations behind the scenes that led to his abrupt exit on Tuesday.

He said that he had told the club last week that he wanted to bring in better players than Forrest for next term, adding that he was unlikely to make the bench for this fixture.

In the opinion of Bircham, that is a factor in why he didn’t receive backing from above in a dispute with the academy section around the availability of their players last week leading up to the league game with St Patrick’s Athletic.

Bircham confirmed that was the issue which ultimately led to a text discussion with Forrest that escalated quickly from a suspension to a sacking. There was a disagreement around the communication of decisions between the first team and the academy – and Bircham took issue with a tweet from the under-age section account that was swiftly deleted when he complained to chairman Mitchell Cowling.

Forrest got involved and didn’t give Bircham the support he wanted – but the ex-QPR defender sensed the writing was on the wall for him already, even though he didn’t see matters coming to a head
before the play-off.

“Our relationship was strained because I’m not really a yes man, and I don’t want to go into it, but he has his son at the club and I didn’t play his son,” said Bircham.

Former West Ham coach Ian Hendon has come in to help out preparations and Bircham said he’d spoken with him briefly, and wished the Blues all the best in the game.

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A Covid issue in the camp has added another layer of complication to the build-up and they will be challenged by a UCD side with some highly rated players in their ranks that are likely to be playing in the top flight next season.

If Waterford fall short, the post-mortem will be brutal.

 


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