'Sacked' Bowyer ready to stay on at Dundee and asked to be backed but Dens Park hierarchy preferred a new broom
Di Stefano has been tweeting pictures of his post-prison adventures as he tours old haunts in the company of a TV camera crew.
It’s unlikely the convicted fraudster missed Dundee’s Championship title success last Friday night against Queen’s Park. It’s equally unlikely the eagle-eyed Di Stefano missed the news yesterday that Dundee have already parted company with their promotion-winning manager Gary Bowyer and Billy Barr, his assistant.
While not unexpected, it has left more questions than answers. What’s been going on behind the scenes? Or what hasn’t been going on?
Long-running rumours about the state of Bowyer’s relationship with John Nelms, the Dundee managing director, appear to have been confirmed by the development five days after Dundee sealed the title and just three days after the Lord Provost swung open the doors of the City Chambers to hold a civic reception in the team’s honour. It’s said they’ve barely spoken in months.
Bowyer lifted the trophy aloft from the balcony overlooking the City Square on Sunday and saluted the supporters below. By Wednesday, just minutes before a scheduled meeting with the players at the club’s new training base at the Gardyne Campus in Broughty Ferry, he had been informed his services were no longer required.
Although the 51-year-old’s family have remained in England and it never seemed as if he was truly settled, it is to all intents and purposes a sacking. Bowyer, who was on a 12-month rolling contract, was ready to stay on for a tilt at Premiership survival but, as he suggested minutes after guiding the team to the title, he wanted backed to the extent Dundee would not be certainties to come straight back down.
Bowyer has left clubs at unusual times before. After one game of the 2018/19 league season – a goalless away draw at Wycombe Wanderers – while manager of Blackpool, for example. He is of course being linked with a return to Blackpool.
But just one hour after being crowned Glen’s Vodka Championship manager of the year is a new one. That was how it played out earlier today. At around 10am came news from the SPFL Twitter account that Bowyer was manager of the year in the Championship, which was re-tweeted by the Dundee FC account.
An hour later the Dens Park club had their own breaking news to impart: Bowyer was gone! He had looked happy enough posing for pictures with the manager of the year trophy the previous day while wearing his Dundee FC branded tracksuit.
Something Nelms had said after the final whistle on Friday at Ochilview came back into focus: “There is no rust in this game”. There’s barely been time to give the Championship trophy its first polish before the guessing game about Bowyer’s successor begins.
Contrary to what was being suggested on social media, Dundee technical director Gordon Strachan was in Broughty Ferry earlier today rather than playing golf with Callum Davidson in Perthshire – he spoke to the players after Bowyer’s departure.
But Davidson is high up on the list of candidates to replace Bowyer and was brought into the Scotland set-up during Strachan’s time as manager. The former St Johnstone manager was described as a “good friend” by Strachan in a newspaper column in 2021.
Dundee have confirmed that both Nelms and Strachan “will undertake a recruitment process” to appoint a new manager to lead the side in the Premiership. “We will update our supporters as soon as this process concludes,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Dundee first-team squad, just three of whom are still contracted to the club beyond this season, cleared their belongings from their lockers today. Those who have not signed pre-contracts with other clubs must simply watch and wait, including highly rated youngsters Lyall Cameron and Josh Mulligan.
It seems a strange and high-risk way to run a football club that ought to be on the crest of a wave.
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