Walsall chairman Leigh Pomlett 'angry and disappointed' at Darrell Clarke departure

Walsall chairman Leigh Pomlett admits he is 'angry and disappointed' at Darrell Clarke's departure – but he has been impressed with new boss Brian Dutton.

Leigh Pomlett
Leigh Pomlett

Clarke made a shock swap to nearby rivals Port Vale on Monday and has since said he believes he will have more chance of success at the Stoke-on-Trent club.

Now, Pomlett has made it clear that the move was not a financial one and he was eager to make a change for a fully committed manager.

"This is not a financial decision," Pomlett said via the club's channels.

"We don't need to change managers and we were not driven to let Darrell go to Port Vale based on financial compensation. It's nonsense.

"I've heard people think it's associated with the January window sales and the fact we lost two of our best players had de-stabilised Darrell Clarke, again absolute nonsense. Darrell Clarke was very much part of those decisions.

"The situation became unstable during the weekend and we became aware of interest from Port Vale.

"I've learnt as chairman that if someone doesn't want to play for you or wants to move on, find a way. Unless they're committed to the club, particularly the manager of the team, then find a way of moving on.

"We had a frank and emotional conversation where it became clear to me that he was ready for change. Once anyone says that, that's it, they have to move on. There's no going back, you need unwavering commitment to the club going forward and I wasn't getting that.

"It was mutual in the end. He decided he needed a new challenge and I decided we needed a change.

"I am disappointed and somewhat angry about the situation, but that soon goes and life moves on."

Dutton, who was Clarke's assistant, initially takes over until the end of the season but Pomlett says there is a possibility of that being extended.

He added: "We have to find a solution to the problem. We have in the shape of Brian Dutton in the short term for this season and who knows at the end of the season what we'll do.

"Brian is someone I have enormous time for. A young but up-and-coming coach. I like his style and moral compass.

"With the backroom team staying the same as they were, there's still a lot of stability in the club and I like what I see.

"I've been mentoring Brian Dutton for six months to one day take the place of Darrell Clarke.

"In this very office two weeks ago Stef Gamble and I did a mock interview with him to see whether he was ready or not. That's just a sensible management think to do as managers do come and go.

"We were very pleased and very impressed with him. He is a top class coach and is committed absolutely.

"It's not a decision I've made in panic, it's a decision we've been preparing for as a club for a number of months."

Meanwhile, Pomlett also announced that the club would not be running it's season ticket early bird scheme as usual towards the end of the season.

The plans have been delayed as they wait for more certainty on the future of the coronavirus pandemic and when fans will return to stadiums.

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