Chairman Karl Oyston speaks to the official website about today's decision to terminate the contracts of Paul Ince, Alex Rae and Steve Thompson.
Karl, in light of your past record with managers, how difficult a decision was the announcement today?
It was a really unpleasant thing to do, I've only ever sacked one manager before. We do owe a great debt of gratitude to Paul and Alex for picking us up in disarray last season and securing our Championship status. We got off to a good start this season, the best in the club's history, so you have to weigh all those factors in, which made it a lot more difficult than the last time in my reign. We felt it was probably the right time and the right thing to do, to give whoever comes in a fresh start and clean slate to build for the future.
You've always been keen for continuity, so I'd imagine it was a tough call to make, given that we were in a similar situation 12 months ago?
Very much so. I speak a great deal with Glenn Bowley about these things, his views are very forthright and often in a blunt way of what the supporters think. I factor Glenn's views in and he put that down formally and wrote to us, and it got to the stage where we had to react and do something, particularly after I'd sat down for a good few hours on Sunday night with Paul, Alex and Steve. We tried to go through what was wrong and how we could get out of it. The clock was ticking and I felt we needed some fresh ideas, because we'd run out of ideas. As the head of the company, it isn't just about soaking up the good times, it is also about making difficult decisions that you don't particularly want to make, for the good of the business.
Football is a results driven business, but was your decision based on a number of factors, taking into account the views of BSA?
The fact we have some of our seniors players not fit at this stage of the season is something which very heavily weighed on our discussions on Sunday. Also the fact we're absolutely floundering with ideas of recruitment - because ideas can't come from me and Matt - we need players in and there is no sign of that on the horizon, that is one of our biggest problems, so that weighed heavily. I place less relevance on this, but from a supporter point of view, one or two people are unhappy with the style of play, so that has probably led to their unhappiness to an extent, as well as the results.
Given he has been a big part of past success with the club, it must have been a particularly difficult decision to let Steve Thompson go?
Steve has been at the club a long time, and was part of our promotion campaigns with Simon Grayson and Ian Holloway. We felt it was the right time to let whoever comes in have a fresh start.
Steve makes no secret of the fact he wants to be a manager, and we've always supported that desire and allowed Steve latitude to go and pursue that in the past. He probably needs to strike out now and go chase that dream. It was a particularly difficult one, because I do like stability, but you have to temper that with the amount of input that a new managerial team has. Football is very fickle, and from Steve's point of view I wouldn't want to see him sidelined. To an extent he has been sidelined lately, so I think it is best all round to give whoever comes in a fair chance to bring their people in.
You've always had a good relationship with the managers you've worked with on a friendship basis.
Exactly. I like all three of them as people and that makes it harder, which is probably why I've put this off, to try to support, help and guide them to turn things around for longer than most clubs would. You have to give people a chance to get out of blips and reversals, because we started the season very well.
Barry Ferguson will take charge of training on Thursday, what is the plan for the next few days and the foreseeable future?
We just need to take stock and decide what to do and where we want to go. I'll speak to Glenn (Bowley) about what happens going forward, also my father, Matt Williams and obviously Jimmy Armfield. They are the people I usually speak to about football business and I rely heavily on what they say and the guidance that they bring. They are all in their own way vastly experienced, and significant to the cause. Let's get this awful day out of the way and then we'll move forward.