Collins claims he is still manager of Bohemians

 

Roddy Collins yesterday claimed that firstly, he still is, and secondly, wanted to be manager of Bohemians Football Club. He used Joe Duffy's Liveline programme on RTE Radio to air his assertions but these were immediately dismissed by club president Pheilim O'Reilly, also a guest on the programme.

Collins was previously informed that his time as manager of the club, whom he guided to the double this season, was over while on holiday in the US with his wife. Bohemians insisted it was his failure to turn up and discuss a new contract at a scheduled meeting on May 19th, and comments attributed to him in the media that the club was poorly run and lacked ambition, that created an impression that it would no longer be preferable for Collins to be in charge.

There was a touch of pantomime to the proceedings as the combatants indulged in a volley of "oh yes you did, oh no I didn't" verbal posturing. Collins initially asserted he was still carrying out his duties at the club, including going to Dalymount Park today to collect mail in his office. When asked by Duffy if he believed he had been sacked, Collins replied: "Absolutely not. I still have a year to run on my contract. As far as I am concerned, I hope I am still manager."

O'Reilly was then introduced on air and his first words when quizzed as to whether Collins was still the manager at Bohemians were unequivocal: "Sadly, he's not."

The proceedings degenerated into verbal jousting with Collins maintaining that he still has a contract while O'Reilly claimed that he failed to attend discussions regarding a new contract on May 19th. The minutiae of the day were resurrected and the differing versions of events aired.

The issue of who said what to whom, and when, may require legal redress between the parties but what is apparent is that Bohemians no longer regard Collins as the manager. According to O'Reilly, any desire on the part of Collins to be reinstated is not reciprocated by the club's management committee.

Collins insists he has the support of 14 players in the first team squad and that he actively dissuaded them from going on the transfer list en bloc. O'Reilly insisted that he was not prepared to articulate what had been privately discussed with a number of players but that there had been no outcry from supporters when the decision was made public.

He added that the management committee of the club met on May 23rd and a decision was taken to relieve Collins of his managerial duties. It was agreed that it would not be communicated to Collins until he returned from his holidays but that directive was transcended when the club was contacted by Collin's solicitor prior to his return.

O'Reilly was careful to point out that Collins had not been "sacked" or "dismissed" but categorically stated that he (Collins) was no longer manager of Bohemians Football Club.

Meanwhile, the FAI have turned down an invitation from the Italian Football Association to play a friendly match in Italy on Wednesday, September 5th. Neither international team had a fixture commitment on that date. The FAI turned down the request on the grounds that it followed too closely Ireland's vital World Cup qualifier against Holland at Lansdowne Road on September 1st.

The FAI is hoping that a friendly may be rearranged for a later date.