Football: Toshack's escape from 'dirty war': Welsh game thrown into confusion

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The Independent Online
JOHN TOSHACK spoke darkly yesterday of the political 'war' surrounding the Football Association of Wales which had forced him to resign as their new manager. He said that in his short term of office, just 48 days, he had uncovered problems that convinced him it was a job he could do without.

In Spain, where he gave his first explanation for the decision which the FAW described as a 'bombshell', Toshack reopened old wounds and the controversy surrounding the ousting of his predecessor, Terry Yorath. This morning at a press conference at Heathrow Airport he will elaborate on those reasons.

Toshack made up his mind to go on Sunday just four days after his first game, the 3-1 defeat by Norway in Cardiff. During this brief period he identified what he called a 'dirty war' surrounding the team. 'I want to wash my hands of the whole affair,' he said. 'Wales can forget about me.'

With Welsh football back in a state of confusion and disarray, serious questions will be asked at a council meeting tonight, especially of Alun Evans, the FAW chief executive, who invited Toshack to combine the part-time post with his full-time responsibility for the Spanish side, Real Sociedad. John Evans, the chairman of the sub-committee responsible for appointing a new manager, is understood to be considering his own position.

It could even lead to a return for Yorath who is the choice of the players and, as they demonstrated last week, retains the backing of the supporters who were not slow in demonstrating their displeasure at Toshack and his methods.

Toshack said he had originally understood that the FAW was not going to renew Yorath's contract, which expired at the end of last year, under any circumstances. 'I have realised things were not like that, that the matter was deeper than I thought,' he said. 'Now I have realised some things I did not know before and I have no intention of continuing.' He was also shaken by the hostility of the Ninian Park crowd and concerned at recent criticism by the Spanish media of his Real Sociedad team.

Toshack's assistant, Mike Smith, will carry on in his job and Wales will begin an urgent search for a new manager to take over before their friendly international with Sweden on 20 April.

It would not be easy for the FAW to return to Yorath who is suing for wrongful dismissal, an action which is on course for an industrial tribunal this summer. For his part, the former manager might decide he could not work again for employers he accused of 'humiliating' him beyond reason. 'I would talk to them but I would not be interested in applying for the job,' Yorath said.

Alun Evans denied that it would be a problem for him. 'If I am instructed to approach Terry then I will do it,' he said. 'We believed John Toshack was the man who would turn round our fortunes, but in the short time he was in the job he identified certain issues we were not aware of and which will be valuable for our next match. There were matters that he feels he could not sort out in time.'

At a press conference in Cardiff, Tommy Forse, the FAW's acting president, said there was 100 per cent backing for their chief executive. 'Alun has been made the scapegoat for a lot of things when all he does is carry out the instructions of his employers.'

David Platt may not be able to captain England against Germany in Berlin on 20 April as he is likely to be wanted by his club, Sampdoria, for the Italian Cup final on the same day.

----------------------------------------------------------------- TOP 10 SHORT-TERM BRITISH MANAGERS ----------------------------------------------------------------- Manager (Club) Days in Charge Departed Bill Lambton (Scunthorpe) 3 Apr 1959 Dave Bassett (C Palace) 3 May 1984 Tim Ward (Exeter) 7 Mar 1953 Johnny Cochrane (Reading) 13 Apr 1939 Jimmy McIlroy (Bolton) 16 Nov 1970 Brian Clough (Leeds) 44 Sep 1974 Jock Stein (Leeds) 44 Oct 1978 John Toshack (Wales) 48 Mar 1994 Brian Little (Wolves) 49 Oct 1986 Bill McGarry (Wolves) 61 Nov 1985 -----------------------------------------------------------------

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