Michael Ryan having second thoughts and may look to stay with Waterford
‘I’m going to think about it over the next week or so. But I wouldn’t rule anything in or out at this stage’
Former Waterford manager Michael Ryan who may look to be reinstated as manager for next season. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Michael Ryan could be set for a dramatic return to the position of Waterford hurling manager after declaring last night he was “having a serious look” at putting his name forward again for 2014 – despite being voted out by his own players last weekend.
Ryan was speaking for the first time since news emerged last Sunday that representatives of the Waterford team had met in a hotel that morning and voted 18-10 for a change in management: on hearing that, Ryan immediately submitted his resignation, although he is now having a change of heart.
“I am really thinking about it again,” said Ryan, “after some of the people that have contacted me. Jimmy Barry-Murphy contacted me on Monday and said he was very, very surprised, and disappointed, thought we were in a very good place. And I’d a lovely text from Ger Loughnane, who felt we’d actually overachieved during the year.
“And look at the Sunday Game team, Eddie Brennan, Liam Sheedy, and Ollie Moran, all felt we’d done very well. There’s a huge body of support for me out there. A lot of people are contacting me, asking me to put my name in the hat again. I’m going to think about it over the next week or so. But I wouldn’t rule anything in or out at this stage.”
Ryan was speaking last night on RTE’s Championship Matters, his first public airing on the issue since announcing his resignation. When it was put to Ryan whether he still wanted the job or not he showed no hesitation: “Of course I want the job. I think I’ve a lot to offer, think I’ve had a decent reign, and I hope to be involved with Waterford hurling in the future. I already had plans in place for the coming year.”
The Waterford county board, following a meeting on Tuesday night said “if the outgoing manager wished to put his name forward, he would be considered equally with all others”.
Ryan added: “In fairness, I knew the meeting was taking place. But first of all, when I was due to meet the county board last Thursday, I thought I would be ratified again.
“But when I met with the county board they said there was a bit of a problem, that some of the players had contacted one another, weren’t happy, and wanted a change of voice, a new manager, going forward. I was very, very surprised by that, and very disappointed.
“I also have to wonder about the timing of the meeting. It was held at 11 o’clock last Sunday, on the day the Waterford minors were playing in Croke Park. I believe there were only 11 people present, and others were contacted by phone, so overall I was disappointed at how the whole thing panned out.”
Ryan also revealed he subsequently contacted certain players, having found out about their dissatisfaction, to get a clearer picture of what the issues were: “When I heard there was a problem, I contacted eight players. Five of them suggested they were happy enough with the management team. They did suggest that maybe we needed improve our hurling coaching, and a few things going forward. We’d already planned that. Three others in fairness said they were in favour of change.
“But I didn’t have any indication at all that there was a problem. I’ve been in constant contact with players. I like to believe that is very, very important. Looking back I thought we had a very decent year. In real terms we finished third in division one of the league. We were in a very good position against Clare, in the championship. Then we played really, really well against Kilkenny, and Brian Cody said to me on the night, in his term in charge of Kilkenny, it was the first time Waterford went to toe-to-toe with them.”