Troy Deeney has been sacked after six matches in charge of Forest Green Rovers, just 29 days into the job. Deeney, who was in his first managerial role, drew criticism after publicly blasting his players following defeat at home to Harrogate last Saturday.
The former Watford striker joined League Two Forest Green as a player-coach in the summer before being promoted to manager after the club’s owner, Dale Vince, sacked David Horseman, the former Southampton assistant coach who was also handed his first senior management role.
On Thursday, Deeney was handed a four-game touchline ban by the Football Association for using language that was “improper and/or abusive and/or insulting and/or threatening” when he was sent off during his second game in charge, against Swindon Town.
After the defeat to Harrogate, Deeney’s last game in charge after their trip to Mansfield was postponed in midweek, the 35-year-old hit out at his players. He said he would “rather watch Antiques Roadshow” than his side. Deeney lost three and drew three of his six league matches in charge.
Deeney had accused Forest Green’s players of being “inmates running the jail” and said there were “too many babies top to bottom”. He hit out at Reece Brown for being late and Fankaty Dabo not being good enough “for five, six, seven, eight nine weeks”. Deeney added: “I have just told him in front of everyone – six months ago that kid had a kick to go to the Premier League. Now he won’t get a game in the National League.
“He is faster than everybody on pure ability but he gets ran [past] every game, he never makes a tackle and every time the ball comes to him it looks like he kicks it with his shin pads. That is the reality of it.”
After defeat to Harrogate, Deeney told BBC Radio Gloucestershire: “We haven’t even hit rock-bottom yet, that’s the worry.”
Vince, who bought Forest Green in 2010, said it was wrong for Deeney to talk to his players as he did. “I think it was a mistake,” Vince said. “I don’t think that is the way to coach a team of people, to bring a team of people together.”
Dan Connor, the club’s longstanding goalkeeper coach, is expected to take interim charge. Forest Green, who are fighting against successive relegations, visit Gillingham on Saturday.
Of his decision to relieve Deeney of his duties, Vince said: “These are decisions nobody likes to make, but we have acted this way to give FGR the best possible chance of improving results and climbing the league table. We wish Troy all the best for the future and thank him for his efforts.”