Megson left in limbo as legal wrangle intensifies

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The Independent Football

Gary Megson has revealed his frustration at not being allowed to look for a new job after being put on "gardening leave" by West Bromwich Albion, who are still his employers.

Megson says his lawyers are negotiating with the club regarding his imminent departure, and that The Hawthorns club are still paying his wages.

The former Stoke and Stockport manager was relieved of his duties on Tuesday after writing a letter to the board of directors announcing his decision not to extend his contract beyond its expiry next summer. He revealed that a phone call from the club's chairman, Jeremy Peace, informed him he would be placed on gardening leave, as his letter was taken as one of resignation.

Megson said: "I wrote a memo to the chairman and the rest of the board just stating that at the end of my contract, 30 June next year, I wouldn't be staying after that.

"I'm surprised but disappointed more than anything else, I wanted to stay at West Brom and see my contract through. But it's not my decision. I'm on gardening leave, I can't look for work. I've got to let the lawyers sort out what needs to be sorted and I want to get back to work as soon as possible," he said. "I'm not available for any job. The chairman phoned me at 5.30 yesterday and informed me I am on gardening leave. I'm still getting paid by the club.

"I want to manage another club and to be a success as I've done with West Brom." And the League Managers' Association chief executive, John Barnwell, backed up Megson's insistence that he had neither been sacked nor resigned.

Barnwell said: "He's not resigned. That would mean to walk away immediately. He's given notice and they have responded as is their prerogative by putting him on gardening leave."

Megson said his decision to leave - next summer, as he had intended - was made for the good of the club as his notorious boardroom wrangles detracted from events on the pitch. He explained: "I've felt for quite a few months now that what was happening with my contract and my future was starting to get away from us and the real issues - the results - were always taking a back seat to my personal situation."

Speculation has already started to mount over Megson's replacement with Gérard Houllier, Sir Bobby Robson, Micky Adams, John Gregory and Bryan Robson among those finding their names linked with the post.

Despite reports, no approach has so far been made to the former England and Newcastle manager, Sir Bobby.

"At this moment in time, there is no comment to make. As far as I am concerned, this is nothing more than conjecture," said the 71-year-old former Albion player.

Another former employee, Bryan Robson, was less subtle in clarifying his interest. "I shall be applying. It is definitely a job I would be interested in," he said.

The former Leicester manager Adams also made no secret of his desire to return to management. "I made it clear I want to get back into it as soon as possible and this is obviously a post that would interest me," he said.

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