Mark McGhee's position as the manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers looked in serious jeopardy last night after he was accused of "blackmailing" his chairman into signing under-achieving players.
The Wolves owner and millionaire tax exile, Sir Jack Hayward, is deeply disappointed that his club have again missed out on promotion to the Premiership, and blames McGhee.
The Bahamas-based Hayward, 74, watched Wolves lose to Crystal Palace in the First Division play-offs before publicly expressing his dissatisfaction. "There has been too much sloppiness and disregard for money. The golden tit, me, won't go on forever," he said.
"It is blackmail. The manager goes to my son, Jonathan, the chairman, and says he must have a player to strengthen the side.
"I ask him why they are so expensive, why are they for sale, why don't they do it for their own clubs, but he asked me if I wanted a team in the Premier League and to win the FA Cup. I also ask why doesn't the player do it for Leicester or Reading, the two clubs we seem to be subsidising.
"Money has been wasted on players who have not come off or performed to their potential. A lot of clubs put the price up three times because it's Wolves and they laugh like a drain when we buy them. I see some players we have bought who do not have the commitment and are overpaid with their sports cars and homes. They have let the fans down."
Hayward, who has invested pounds 40m in the club - split equally between the transfer market and redeveloping Molineux - in the last seven years, ended his tirade with an ominous warning for McGhee. "One would expect a manager who fails to take you where you belong, with everything going for him, to gracefully retire and say I have not succeeded."
McGhee, who had some good news with Steve Bull's announcement that he was prepared to sign a new contract, was already aware that Hayward's financial backing might be coming to end.
"It's not for me to say whether Sir Jack is going to go on helping this club, but I think it is impossible to ask people to keep on doing it the way he and his family have," McGhee said. "We do have to look at the possibility that we are running out of time to capitalise on their investment."
Middlesbrough moved closer to a courtroom collision course with the Premier League after their chairman, Steve Gibson, pledged to "fight all the way" in a quest to regain the deducted points that would have secured their top-flight status.
"I can't go public over our plans but I can assure every one of our fans that we intend to fight all the way," he said. "I have to convince a lot of people that we are in the right and that is my target."Reuse content