Thompson: I’ve noth­ing to be ashamed of over McNa­mara sack­ing

The Herald - Sport - - FOOTBALL - GARY KEOWN

STEPHEN THOMPSON has in­sisted Jackie McNa­mara had con­sid­er­able back­ing from the board in his time as Dundee United man­ager and has de­fended the club’s han­dling of his dis­missal.

The Tan­nadice chair­man re­lieved McNa­mara of his du­ties by let­ter in the wake of Satur­day’s 2-1 de­feat by St John­stone with his con­tract of­fi­cially be­ing ter­mi­nated dur­ing con­ver­sa­tions on Mon­day evening.

McNa­mara’s fa­ther, Jackie Snr, has de­scribed United’s han­dling of the saga as “abysmal”, but Thompson in­sists he spoke to Jackie Jnr face to face and has done as much as could be ex­pected to make a suc­cess of things at the club, who cur­rently sit sec­ond bot­tom of the Lad­brokes Premier­ship fol­low­ing a run of seven fix­tures with­out a win.

“The board have been dis­cussing it for a while, where we were as a club, where we think we should be and the sup­port we’ve given to the man­ager,” said Thompson. “Dif­fer­ent clubs do things in dif­fer­ent ways. We fol­lowed the ad­vice we had from a le­gal point of view. I’ve seen man­agers sacked via their agent, a phone call from the chair­man to an agent. At least I handed Jackie a let­ter to his face, spoke to him to his face and looked him in the eye.

“I’ve heard a lot worse ways of man­agers be­ing han­dled over the years.”

United have sold the likes of Gary Mackay-Steven, Stu­art Armstrong, Ryan Gauld, Nadir Ciftci and Andy Robert­son over the past cou­ple of sea­sons, but Thompson in­sists he has to bal­ance the books and in­sists that sig­nif- icant fi­nance has been in­vested both in the play­ing staff and the club’s train­ing base at St An­drews.

“Four or five years ago, we were un­der ridicu­lous pres­sure from the bank to the point where the club could have gone un­der,” he said. “I was de­ter­mined the club would not get into that po­si­tion again. Yes, we sold play­ers, but those five play­ers played in the cup fi­nal in 2014 and we didn’t win that. We have brought in 12 play­ers since Jan­uary. Our play­ing bud­get is the third big­gest in the league and we are sit­ting sec­ond bot­tom. To me, that is a fair bit of sup­port back.

“If you go over to St An­drews, there are great fa­cil­i­ties there. There is more staff there than there is here at Tan­nadice. We feel we have backed him as much as we could.”

McNa­mara, ap­pointed in Jan­uary 2013, saw his pop­u­lar­ity nose­dive among United fans when it was re­vealed he had a con­trac­tual clause en­ti­tling him to a cut of trans­fer fees for play­ers sold by the club, but Thompson in­sists the de­ci­sion over his fu­ture was based on re­cent re­sults alone.

Dave Bow­man, who will take the team for Satur­day’s league visit to Partick This­tle, is not ex­pected to be in the run­ning for the man­ager’s po­si­tion. Thompson says he is look­ing for some­one with man­age­rial ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I be­lieve this is too big a club for a first man­age­rial ap­point­ment,” he said.

NO RE­GRETS: Thomp­son in­sists he had board’s full back­ing in re­mov­ing man­ager

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