DEAN HOYLE says he had “lost faith” in Lee Clark’s ability to take Town up and that’s why he was sacked.
Speaking as Simon Grayson was appointed on a three-and-a-half year contract as successor to the 39-year-old Geordie, Hoyle said the decision to axe Clark had been a tough one to take but the right one.
“It was a very simple conclusion in the end – I had lost faith in Lee’s ability to get the club into the top two,” said Hoyle, who appointed Clark in December 2008 and backed him through two unsuccessful play-off campaigns.
“Also, I didn’t believe that if it came to a play-off final he could do it. The pressure would maybe have been too much.
“With automatic promotion I fully expected us to move on this season but, from Christmas, or from mid-December, I just didn’t see us doing it.
“This season, so far, we have drawn 13 matches from winning positions, we have had continuous squad rotation and I voiced my concerns.
“While it may come as a surprise to many, I voiced my concerns to Lee and his staff long before we parted company.”
Hoyle was close to Clark and said it was a “horrible” decision to let him and his staff – Terry McDermott, Paul Stephenson and Steve Watson – go, but he felt he had no option.
“Lee has worked extremely hard for this club and put his life and soul into it and I’m sure he will find another club he can take forward – I really do wish him the best,” he explained.
“At the end of the day, though, you have to back your decisions. Maybe I have made a few mistakes myself, maybe I allowed too many players to come in which has made it probably too easy to swap and change.
“I sanctioned it, though, and I’m not blaming anybody else. A manager will never turn down players and maybe I just need to control that going forward.
“Lee has brought in some incredibly gifted and talented players, we have an incredible squad and I don’t doubt at all that they can win promotion.
“I believe we have the best squad of footballers in this division and that’s why third place, 13 points behind the leaders, is unacceptable.
“I wanted Lee to succeed more than anybody and I backed him with everything, even two more players in the transfer window, but I realised it wasn’t going to be and we needed a change to give ourselves the best opportunity with the right manager, and Simon is that man.”