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4 days ago
From Official St Helens club website:
St Helens left with no option but to dismiss Ian Millward
1. St Helens Rugby League Football Club has terminated the employment of its Head Coach, Ian Millward, on the grounds of gross misconduct.
2. The Club has for some weeks been investigating a number of serious complaints which have been made against Ian.
3. Following a disciplinary hearing, in which Ian was given a full opportunity to defend himself, it was felt that the Club was left with no option but to dismiss.
4. In brief, the three charges entailed:
a. An unprovoked aggressive, foul-mouthed attack against the young employee of St Helens at a pre-arranged TV interview for former captain and icon of the Saints, Chris Joynt, at Knowsley Road . This wholly unnecessary incident humiliated, upset and professionally undermined a young but valued employee of the Club who tendered his resignation as a result.
b. A sustained, intimidatory, aggressive and foul-mouthed tirade at a young, female employee of a fellow Super League Club - Warrington Wolves. The Chairman of Warrington, Lord Hoyle, wrote to Saint's Chairman to describe the incident as :- ??disgraceful, despicable and unnecessary and not any way to treat any Club who is trying to help? the attack was nothing short of a disgrace and a sad reflection of Ian himself as the coach of the St Helens Club.?
Having subsequently reviewed the detailed evidence, the Chairman agreed with these sentiments, and indeed felt even more strongly than Lord Hoyle. Ian Millward did apologise to the victim some six weeks later when asked by an official at Warrington to do so ? but only when he had learned that the matter had become an issue. We therefore had to question his motive for apologising so long after the event.
c. Swearing at the fourth official at the Bradford Easter Monday game on 28th March 2005 . Ian Millward then lied at the subsequent RFL disciplinary hearing that he did not do this.
5. It is beyond question that these matters have brought the good name of St Helens into disrepute. The verbal assault on the young lady involved the use of particularly aggressive and sexist language used in an intimidating manner. This was unfortunately much more than a ?swearing incident? as has been referred to by Mr Millward's solicitor.
6. The Club, along with all other Super League Clubs, has for sometime been working extremely hard to promote St Helens as a family club with family values. This is something that the Club strongly believes in. These three charges were each serious in their own right but when added together, in our view, portray a pattern of behaviour of a person who is unwilling or unable to comply with his ambassadorial duties as Head Coach.
7. Ian's actions have unacceptably impacted upon the good name of the Saints and the game of rugby league. We make continued and vigorous attempts to positively differentiate our Club and our sport as a family sport. We expect this image to be portrayed by our players, all staff and our supporters.
8. The fact is, that a Head Coach, particularly one who has assiduously developed such a very high national and international public profile, is the prime ambassador for the Club. His example is highly influential on our players and supporters, particularly younger supporters.
9. In addition, other matters of alleged misconduct (some potentially more serious than those already decided upon), are currently also being investigated by the club.
10. In addition to these three matters, albeit unconnected with the disciplinary proceedings relating to Ian's dismissal, Saints name has not been helped by Ian Millward's position over the Martin Gleeson transfer. Ian was informed of the offer for Martin Gleeson one week before his actual transfer and given the reasons therefore by the Chairman. He understood our decision and confirmed that he would support it. When the Chairman then went away on holiday Ian blamed the decision to transfer Martin Gleeson on the Chief Executive Sean McGuire (who had no part in it except as a member of a unanimous board) and has publicly and repeatedly stated that he was not informed, when he most certainly was. This again was most damaging and wholly unfair to the club's management.
11. It is beyond doubt that the trust and confidence between the Club's principal officers and Ian has now irreparably broken down. The Club is simply not prepared to tolerate this kind of behaviour from any employee let alone its Head Coach. To do so sends the wrong message to staff, players, fans and in particular young fans.
12. Club is extremely sorry that the above matters have had to be brought into the public domain. But even the manner in which these matters have become public is now worthy of mention. The Club approached Ian Millward one week ago in an attempt to resolve the matter in a private and fair and reasonable manner in an attempt not to unnecessarily destabilise the Club and the team and in order to maintain Ian Millward's personal reputation. This proposal was rejected by Ian Millward.
13. Very disappointingly, Ian Millward have since taken advantage of the confidentiality required from the Club by deliberately trivialising serious charges and conducting a comprehensive media campaign which has caused the Club serious and unfounded embarrassment and has been very damaging to our good name, reputation and business and has been particularly damaging and viciously hurtful to the Club's Chief Executive, Sean McGuire . The Club and its officers are considering their legal position in relation to the damage caused.
14. The decision to terminate Ian's employment has not been taken lightly. Unfortunately given events the Club has been left with no option. No one person is bigger than St Helens Rugby Football Club. The long term name and reputation of the Club is paramount and cannot be sacrificed to accommodate the kind of unacceptable behaviour displayed by the Head Coach, no matter what his coaching skills and reputation.
15. The Club cannot continue with its inability to restrain continued unacceptable gross misconduct by its Head Coach which is so damaging to our name and to the morale and motivation of staff at the Saints. These actions also made it impossible for the Chairman to have any continuing trust or faith in the Head Coach.
16. In the last week I have been deliberately and systematically subjected to a very public campaign of psychological warfare and pressure not to make this decision even from sources within the club. It would, however, be cowardly of me not to make it, and certainly not in the best interests of the Club. I sincerely now hope the fans will, after hearing the facts, understand why this most difficult decision had to be taken.
17. We have an excellent team who have acted maturely and professionally despite this unnecessarily public distraction in recent days. Likewise, Assistant Coach Dave Rotheram has performed heroically and professionally. I am very proud of them all and of the staff of the Club.
18. We must now face the future as a proud and confident Club who leads our sport by the example of our behaviour as well as by the example of our rugby. My medium term objective, with the Borough Council, is to get the Saints into a new stadium within three to four years. We will now immediately and urgently begin the search for a new coach I can assure all Saints fans that the level of that appointment will reflect the huge ambitions of the Board and all Saints fans. This can only add to our support and our position as a global sporting brand with all the responsibilities which go with it. I would urge our supporters to do what you have always done so well ? support your team and support your Club.