Former coach Matthew Elliott’s exit from the Warriors has led revelations that co-owner Sir Owen Glenn is looking to sell his stake in the NRL club.
Glenn on Wednesday attacked the “diabolical” treatment of Elliott, who he says didn’t resign after the 37-6 defeat to Cronulla as management had said, but was pushed.
He says the decision wasn’t ratified by the full board or by him.
Co-owner Eric Watson says Glenn’s statement caught him by surprise, “which is not something that makes me happy”.
He also says he’s perturbed by it.
“The shareholder’s representative approached us to buy back their shareholding,” he told New Zealand’s Radio Sport from London.
“For whatever reason, I think Owen has had enough of being involved with the Warriors and we have been in discussions for some months about buying his shareholding off him, so I am totally surprised.”
Glenn bought a 50 per cent stake in the Warriors in early 2012.
Watson said it was “semantics to some extent” as to the manner of Elliott’s exit.
He said the board made a decision to speak to Elliott after the Sharks loss with a view to assistant Andrew McFadden taking over.
Elliott then had a meeting with chairman Bill Wavish, where they agreed on a statement.
“But frankly, yes, Matt could resign or his employment would be terminated,” Watson said, adding that Elliott chose to resign.
“One way or the other, he was going.”
Watson said the Warriors had had a target of winning the majority of their first six games, something they would now not achieve with their 2-3 record.
He also said he had 100 per cent faith in McFadden, who was seen as the long-term option as coach and had been groomed to take over next year anyway.
Wavish responded to Glenn’s comments by saying his meeting with Elliott was with the full knowledge and unanimous support of the board.
“This support included Sir Owen’s representative on the board, who subsequently told me that Sir Owen was informed,” he said in a statement.
“Sir Owen had previously asked not to be consulted directly on decisions as his shareholding was held in trust.”
Wavish said Elliott confirmed in writing that he thought the process was respectful.
Glenn said what happened to Elliott was “the dishonourable treatment of an honourable man”.
“I was sorry to hear of Matt’s ‘resignation’,” he said in a statement.
“I was sorrier still when I learned that he hadn’t, in fact, walked away from the Warriors at all – he didn’t jump, he was pushed.”
Glenn said the loss to the Sharks was worse than disappointing, he deplored mediocrity, and tough questions needed to be asked of the coach, players and the management team.
“However, a decision to axe a coach needs to be scrupulously considered and properly ratified,” he said.
“Instead, what we have here is a seeming knee-jerk decision conveyed to Matt immediately after the game, without ratification by the full board of the Warriors – or by this co-owner.”