Rugby League: Larder is open to offers after leaving Widnes

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The Independent Online
PHIL LARDER has resigned as Widnes coach after two increasingly frustrating seasons in the job. Larder, a former national director of coaching and Great Britain assistant coach, took over from Frank Myler in May 1992 and took Widnes to Wembley a year later, writes Dave Hadfield.

Financial problems at a club who had known great success in the 80s and early 90s meant that five of the Wembley side, including Jonathan Davies, were sold in an attempt to balance the books. Widnes struggled through a mediocre season and look set to lose more players, with Esene Faimalo lined up by Leeds and Bobby Goulding also unsettled.

Larder, who went on holiday at the end of the season to consider his future, has been linked with the vacant jobs at Wigan, Hull and Keighley. The Widnes chairman, Jim Mills, warned that the club will seek compensation for the remaining year of Larder's contract if he goes elsewhere. 'We are disappointed, because Phil has done an impressive job,' Mills said.

Larder, who has already turned down one First Division club and has offers from two other teams, said: 'That has nothing to do with why I am leaving Widnes. I am completely disillusioned with Widnes and a disillusioned coach is no use to them.'

Barrie McDermott, Oldham's 21-year-old prop forward, is to join Wigan on a three-year contract after turning down St Helens and Warrington. The fee will be settled by a tribunal unless Wigan are prepared to meet Oldham's high valuation.

McDermott, who is regarded as one of the most promising young front-row forwards in the game, has risen to prominence despite the loss of an eye in an accident with an air rifle when he was 14.