Gone in 24 hours: Inside Yorke’s volatile A-League axing

Former Premier League star Dwight Yorke A-League coaching stint was over in a flash – with a controversial ‘pub team’ sledge at the centre of his ugly split. Yorke finally has his say on how it all unfolded.

In an exclusive interview with News Corp, the Trinidadian soccer superstar has given his version of the events that led to him leaving the south western Sydney club just four months after he delivered the team’s first major trophy — the Australia Cup — and qualification for the lucrative Asian Champions’ League.

Yorke’s claims — which have been dismissed by Macarthur FC as “incorrect and self-serving” — paint a different picture to earlier, unsourced reports of the incident in which he labelled the club ‘mickey mouse’.

Yorke, 51, confirmed he did use the terms ‘‘mickey mouse” and “pub” during an emotional dressing room speech but the former Manchester United forward said he was referring to the actions of some senior management running the club, not the players.

In a raw and wide-ranging interview about his fallout with the Campbelltown A-League team, Yorke also claimed:

The ‘blow-up’ that led to his termination happened after the club transferred Anthony Carter to Portuguese side Oliveirense without notifying the coaching staff until hours before a critical match against Adelaide United, in which he wanted Carter to play

While Yorke was aware Carter had requested and agreed to a transfer, he said he only found out the deal had gone ahead after they arrived in Adelaide and the player was told to get an Uber to the airport and catch the first plane home

Yorke said he ‘lost it’ when Macarthur officials told him after the team was beaten in the game that winning doesn’t matter as much as players acknowledging their fans after each match

Yorke said he and his assistant coach Russell Latapy were both notified they were being terminated via email the following day while they returned to Sydney

Yorke said the termination notices came on the same day Latapy’s brother was being buried

Yorke’s own brother had also recently passed away and while News Corp understands the club expressed its condolences and offered the men compassionate leave, Yorke said the timing of their terminations exhibited a lack of empathy

Yorke said he has still never met face-to-face with the officials who terminated his contract and was denied the chance to say goodbye to the players

The messy split is now a legal issue

Macarthur FC chairman Gino Marra told News Corp he did not agree with Yorke’s claims.

“Macarthur FC strongly denies the allegations made by Dwight Yorke, which are factually incorrect and self-serving,” he said.

“The club is saddened to see Dwight take this course of action.

“The matter is before the judicial process, the club will not be making public statements until the process has been finalised. The club wishes Dwight all the best in his future endeavours.”

Yorke — who also played for Aston Villa, Blackburn, Rovers, Birmingham City, Sunderland and Sydney FC before switching his hand to coaching — told News Corp he never wanted to go public with his grievances but felt obliged to “set the record straight” because previous reports implied he had gone off the rails and criticised the players.

“I don’t want to have a go at the club or the fans. This isn’t some sort of vendetta but it’s time the truth was told,” Yorke said.

“There were other incidents that built up but what happened on that final day was the tipping point.

“I don’t deny saying the club was like a mickey mouse slash pub team but that was not about my players. That was about the hierarchy in terms of how they run the team.

“I’ve never once criticised this club. Even though I had a rant in the dressing room, I was just being honest because it’s no secret it’s being run like a pub team. The hierarchy just couldn’t take the truth.

“We agreed to issue a joint statement saying it was mutual but they haven’t ever spoken to me since. It’s crazy. If you’re going to get rid of me, at least call me into the office and say ‘I don’t like what you said. We don’t see eye-to-eye so this is not going anywhere. Thanks very much.

“But they didn’t do that. I just think that lacked class.”

Macarthur chief executive Sam Krslovic said under the terms of his contract Yorke didn’t have the final authority over player transfers, but he was made aware Carter was leaving and the decision to pull him from the Adelaide match was to ensure he didn’t get injured after the transfer had been signed.

But Yorke said he had been told Carter would not be transferred until a replacement was found and he still should have been informed that the deal had been signed.

“The incident (with Carter) was just one too many. How can you terminate someone’s contract three hours before the game without telling the manager? I felt there was just a lot of disrespect,” Yorke said.

“Not only that, but you could imagine the embarrassment for the boy that we had taken all the way to Adelaide … To call an Uber and put him on the next flight while the bus is driving off to the game, that’s just a little bit cruel.

“I’ve been around a long time but I’ne never seen anything like that at the professional level because that’s just not how it’s done.”

Yorke and Macarthur FC remain in disagreement about a number of incidents that led to the breakdown and a bitter public fallout on social media.

One fan tweeted: “Maybe Dwight was right after all, pack it up Gino give another license a go!”

Marra’s wife Antonetta defended her husband, replying: “Why don’t you leave if you can’t support the club then f— off”

Yorke said he has not set foot at the club since.

“The chairman (Marra) or the CEO (Sam Krslovic) never spoke to me about anything directly,” Yorke said.

“And my assistant (Latapy), his contract was terminated on the plane the following day, while we were travelling into Sydney.

“And then 30 minutes after that email came through, there was a follow up e-mail stating that I was suspended for ten days.

“It all unfolded in less than 24 hours and we never even got the chance to return to the training ground to say goodbye to the players.

“I’ve never seen anything like it and I’m devastated. I’m absolutely gutted because I have so much belief in all the players and was so committed to the club and so proud of the direction we were trending in.

“The same day that Russell’s contract and my contract was terminated was the same day Russell’s brother was being buried.

“We decided not to travel back to the funeral so we had to look at these things on Zoom. That’s what this club meant to us.

“They knew all this but the way they acted, it just lacks empathy and class.

“Yes, we had our differences but the way everything was handled was just crazy and it’s time people knew the truth.

“I loved being in Australia as a player and a coach but this has left a really bittersweet taste in my mouth.

“But what I keep reminding myself is they won’t change history the way we did.

“As I always told the players, just look in the history books because no matter what other people do, what we achieved together will always be there.”

Originally published as Sacked Macarthur coach Dwight Yorke unloads on A-League club, opens up on ‘pub team’ sledge

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