Newcastle United reserve team manager Willie Donachie last night resigned on the day the club launched an investigation into an allegation that he hit one of his players.
The Magpies confirmed late yesterday evening that the 62-year-old former Scotland international had stepped down from his position.
A club statement said: “Newcastle United can confirm that Willie Donachie has resigned from his position as reserve team manager with immediate effect. The club will be making no further comment.”
The allegation surrounds an incident involving Donachie and 19-year-old defender Remie Streete after Monday night’s 2-0 under-21 defeat at Sunderland. Newcastle’s loss in the second-string derby came two days after the senior team were beaten 3-0 at home in the Barclays Premier League by the Black Cats.
The news of Donachie’s resignation came as manager Alan Pardew prepared to sit down with owner Mike Ashley to plot a way forward for the club.
The 52-year-old will send his depleted team into Barclays Premier League battle at Chelsea tomorrow after more tumult on Tyneside. The Magpies sold their best player, Yohan Cabaye, without replacing him, before losing to neighbours Sunderland and then witnessing the departure of controversial director of football Joe Kinnear inside six turbulent days.
The transfer window debacle and the derby defeat proved too much to take for some fans, one of whom ran on to the pitch to confront Pardew during the Sunderland game, while others have signalled their intention not to renew season tickets.
However, asked what his message will be when he meets Ashley to discuss life after Kinnear, the manager said: “My message is always the same, it’s about taking the club forward. We can’t stand still, we have to go forward, so it gives us an opportunity to do that.
“Let’s be honest, it was an emotional game and the fan running on the pitch with a season ticket and all that, that’s what our fans are and they will never take that away from them. They are passionate, they love the club and the best thing I can try to do is get the best team I can out there to get results for them. I have no problem with that passion. It comes to the surface.
“There was a bit of frustration this week with season tickets going forward. But two years ago, we finished fifth; this year, we are eighth and we have done a brilliant job.
“We have lost a great player, we know that, and in the summer hopefully we can bring three or four great players in. Let’s hope so because this club deserves it.”
Pardew insisted he was “sad” at Kinnear’s exit – a feeling which was not shared by many on Tyneside – after his reign came to an end a little more than seven months after he was appointed. He left having made only two loan signings in as many transfer windows and with many still wondering what his role was meant to be. The 67-year-old did not carry out any media duties after launching a series of initial salvos – the first came before his appointment had even been officially confirmed – and with Ashley happy to take a back seat, Pardew has found himself having to shoulder that responsibility.
The role proved particularly uncomfortable in the wake of the Sunderland game when Pardew was left to field questions about the Cabaye saga, many of which he could not answer.
Pardew said: “I have probably been in that position for a long time. I have to carry that responsibility, and I have no problem with that. I don’t want to talk about other things other than football, if I am honest, but sometimes you do and I give the best answers that I can.”
It remains to be seen whether Ashley decides to persist with a director of football, but if he does, Pardew insists he would have no problem with that.
He said: “That decision is the board’s, but I have no problem with directors of football. In the modern game, a lot of clubs have directors of football. There is so much involved in transfers in terms of the other club, agents, the preparation for the bid and the finances that are involved now that it goes way past what we used to do ten years ago.”