McManus charges Millward with 'destabilising' Saints

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The Independent Online

The St Helens' chairman, Eamonn McManus, has hit back at the widespread criticism of the club over its decision to suspend Ian Millward. The Saints' coach could be sacked this week at the end of the disciplinary inquiry which is looking into three allegations of swearing.

The St Helens' chairman, Eamonn McManus, has hit back at the widespread criticism of the club over its decision to suspend Ian Millward. The Saints' coach could be sacked this week at the end of the disciplinary inquiry which is looking into three allegations of swearing.

McManus defended the role of the club's chief executive, Sean McGuire, whose clash of personalities with Millward is widely blamed for the situation, saying that McGuire was responsible for turning the club around.

The charges against Millward, McManus said, had been "grossly and irresponsibly trivialised in the press and in particular by Ian's solicitor, who should not be speaking on the matter at all under the legal disciplinary procedures. The great name of Saints has been brought into disrepute too often in recent years. The club is presently suffering from having to adhere to the requisite confidentiality.

"Ian and his solicitor should do likewise and honour this as their actions are destabilising the club. At least have respect for our players who are handling this in a professional and business-like manner."

McManus's statement came after a demonstration in support of Millward involving over 2,000 Saints' fans on Friday night and the insistence of the club's elder statesman Eric Ashton that he knew nothing of the decision to suspend Millward, despite being on the board.

Ashton blamed the relationship with McGuire for Millward's suspension: "A lot of chief executives like to have something to do with the football side, because that's where the glamour and glory is," he said.

Just to thicken the plot further, Saints, the Challenge Cup holders, came out of the bag for this year's quarter-finals with Wigan, whose unconvincing victory over UTC on Friday has fuelled inevitable rumours that Millward could finish up coaching them.

Widnes' reward for a 50-8 victory over Barrow of National League 1 is a trip to France to play Toulouse. Leigh, another club struggling in the Super League, beat Halifax 40-20 and go to Hull in the quarter-finals.

The Saints-Wigan match and London's trip to Leeds are the likely choices for the televised games on the 25 and 26 June.

Challenge Cup Quarter final draw: Leeds v London Broncos; St Helens v Wigan; Toulouse v Widnes; Hull v Leigh.

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