Nicholl rejects Raith's offer

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The Independent Online
Jimmy Nicholl yesterday revealed why he could not be tempted back to Stark's Park as Raith Rovers' manager after the sacking of his friend Iain Munro.

Raith, close to being relegated to the Scottish First Division, sacked Munro yesterday morning after just seven months in charge. Munro had rejected an invitation to resign with more than two years left on his contract.

Raith then offered the job on a caretaker basis to Nicholl, who led the club to their only trophy win in 1994 when they beat Celtic in the Coca- Cola Cup and qualified for the Uefa Cup.

But Nicholl, who went back to Raith as Munro's non-contract assistant after his departure from Millwall, refused even though Munro urged him to take the job. Coaches Steve Kirk and Miodrag Krivokapic are in charge for the last three games of the season.

"The club has had two managers in 12 years in Frank Connor and myself and then four in the past 14 months (Nicholl, Jimmy Thomson, Tommy McLean and Munro)," Nicholl said. "There is a common denominator there and I wasn't prepared to stick around although it would have been easy to go in for the last three games and see what happened.

"But there was no way I could do it for a few reasons. Among them was the fact that I had been in there to help Iain.

"I was expecting after losing 5-0 to Motherwell on Saturday that they would ask me to leave. The club is virtually in the First Division again and I came in with Iain to try and keep them up.

"What I wasn't expecting was them to sack Iain. Nor was I then expecting them to ask me to take the job. I couldn't do that and I saw the conditions Iain was working within."

Munro revealed that the chairman, Danny Penman, asked if he had "had enough" on the pavement at Fir Park after Saturday's 5-0 defeat by Motherwell, even though he still had more than two years of a contract to run.

"I asked if they had had enough of me as manager of Raith Rovers and he told me I had been a failure which I don't accept," Munro said.

"Raith were bottom of the table when I took over and it is not as if I had spent a million on new players. I'd no cash to spend and when we did bring in Soren Andersen and Kent Bergersen on loan we picked up points.

"The board just couldn't give me cash to give the players who were there the lift a couple of new faces could bring. I don't blame the Raith players and the fans were very patient in a frustrating time. I don't think my reputation or credibility has been damaged by this but I think the club's has."

Munro revealed he told Nicholl yesterday to take the job if asked and not to concern himself with what might be said.

"I knew people would say Jimmy was sitting on my shoulder but it wasn't like that. I told him to take the job if he wanted it and not to bother about what might be said by those on the outside.''

Nicholl fell out with Penman towards the end of 1995 which led to the former Northern Ireland international quitting for Millwall.

Penman was not supposed to still be at Stark's Park after agreeing to step down earlier this year with a scrap merchant, Willie Gray, expected to take over. But a special extraordinary general meeting was cancelled and he remained in charge.

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