Bristol Rovers sack boss Darrell Clarke on eve of Sunderland clash after explosive comments

Bristol Rovers have parted company with manager Darrell Clarke ahead of this weekend's trip to Sunderland.

Thursday, 13th December 2018, 11:03 am
Updated Thursday, 13th December 2018, 11:05 am
Bristol Rovers have parted company with manager Darrell Clarke.

Clarke has managed the club for the last six years and guided the club to promotion from the Conference and League Two.

But a run of four consecutive league defeats has seen Rovers drop into the relegation zone, following a heavy 4-0 defeat to Doncaster last time out.

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A club statement read: "After much soul searching and lengthy deliberations it has been mutually agreed that it is probably in the best interests of the club and of Darrell Clarke to seek a fresh way forward," the club said.

"Darrell leaves the club with immediate effect and on amicable terms."

Who will be in the dugout at the Stadium of Light for Saturday’s fixture remains unclear with Rovers’ statement not mentioning any caretaker manager, while ex-Sunderland man Steve Cotterill was the early favourites with the bookies to get the job.

Clarke was critical of his players after the Doncaster defeat, saying: "Obviously Donny were feeling confident and passing it around, making us look silly. It’s not good enough."

He also pointed out the problems following a recent board meeting, where Clarke was told no progress had been made over the club's promised new stadium and training ground.

"I’m being honest now, they try and tell me different, but I can’t see the training ground or stadium happening any time," said Clarke after the Doncaster defeat.

"I’m manager and, for me, I think it’s the other way. There’s going to be cuts."

"Listen, I’m saying that as an underachieving manager, I have a mid-table budget in League One and I ain’t succeeded this year, I’m underachieving.

"In the last two years I’ve had a bottom six, bottom eight, budget and we’ve over achieved.

“This year I’m under achieving as a manager and I’ll take that. My signings haven’t been good enough, without a shadow of a doubt I ain’t shirking responsibility, but it still needs that backing, pushing, facilities to move forward and we’re still in the same place.

“People think I have a problem with the board, I don’t have a problem with the board, I just tell them exactly how it is.

“I don’t go and shirk away in the boardroom, I tell them it’s not good enough, the club’s going backwards. I said that to them yesterday. It is because we’re fourth bottom on the pitch but it’s going backwards because nothing’s happening.

“I don’t think anyone would blame me for walking out the door, would they? I’m a fighter, my pride doesn’t let me do that. You’ve just fought all your life. I’m emotional sometimes after the game, like I was after the Gillingham game, but, for me, I want to get clarity out there.”