Richardson ousted as Coventry chairman

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Bryan Richardson, who presided over Coventry City's relegation from the Premier League last season, denied last night that he had resigned as chairman and chief executive.

The club released a statement earlier in the day which stated that Richardson had resigned with immediate effect following a vote of no confidence from board members at a meeting. It also claimed that Mike McGinnity, deputy chairman for the last eight years, had agreed to become chairman at the request of the board.

Richardson, chairman since 1993, confirmed he had received a unanimous vote of no confidence but denied resigning. "I must make it clear I did not resign from the club either as chairman or chief executive," he said. "If the board chose to remove me from the position of chairman or chief executive that is something they have to notify me about.

"The situation now is that I am going to consider my position carefully and talk it over with family and friends and then see what the future holds. I should also point out that I am still the largest single shareholder at the club."

The board expressed their dissatisfaction at the meeting, making it clear Richardson had lost their confidence as well as that of the senior management.

"We must now all move forward together," McGinnity said. "My main priority is to improve the morale throughout the club and the fans. We shall have to lift our performance on and off the field.

"I have spoken to the managers in the playing and business area and they have assured me of their support, as have my fellow directors. There are big improvements to be made and I am sure that with all of us working together we can achieve them."

After spending 34 years in the top flight, Coventry have struggled to adjust to life in the First Division and have failed to mount a sustained challenge for promotion. Gordon Strachan was sacked in September after five years in charge and replaced by the former Swedish international Roland Nilsson, with Jim Smith named as his assistant earlier this month.

One of the club's former players Keith Houchen, who is still revered by City fans for his diving header in the 1987 FA Cup final victory against Tottenham, went back to Highfield Road for the third-round tie against the same opponents two weeks ago and was shocked at the degree of hostility displayed by the crowd towards the Coventry chairman.

"The fans were wanting his resignation," Houchen said. "But the problems at the club seemed to go much deeper than that. The team itself lacked passion and that seems to run throughout the club. It's as if the team, the fans and the board are all resigned to it all."

Houchen also said Richardson was reluctant to give any credit to the 1987 team. "He never made any effort to come and see us at all. And that was a strange way to treat the side that won the cup. I don't know if he resents our success but I know every single picture of the cup-winning side has been removed from the stadium – it was the first thing I noticed."