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Sacked coach Henning Berg drags Blackburn Rovers to court

Rupam Bagish
873   //    25 Mar 2013, 18:40 IST

Henning Berg

Already troubled Blackburn Rovers are on the line to face an another setback, following an order by the Blackburn High Court, forcing them to pay Henning Berg the money he owes to the club. Berg is one of the three coaches sacked by the club this season.

Citing the rising pressure on the football’s governing bodies to investigate the shocking moves made by the Rovers in the recent past, the High court may announce its summary judgement this Thursday. The club’s Indian owners Venky’s may face prosecution for breaching of contract following their inability to pay Berg his due. Berg was in charge of the club for 56 days, before he was forced out in December.

The club is believed to owe Berg around £2m. The sacked coach seems very certain about the judgement coming his way, which is quite a possibility if the Rovers fail to present any solid defence. Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the League Managers Association, which is also looking into the Berg’s case, said, “Blackburn will feel the force of the law in the High Court next week.”

The Ewood Park based team however has the option of settling it with the Norwegian out of court, just in case the court decides to hear the case for 1 day, citing Berg’s 65-70 per cent chances of  winning it. Michael Appleton, who succeeded Berg as the manager of the club, was also sacked following the return of the club’s ‘global adviser’ Shebby Singh. The players are also believed to be showing their hate for Singh openly now. Singh was also not present at the Brockhall training ground, where Gary Bowyer took the charge of team’s training. Gary reportedly regained his position as the boss, after he was forced out following the decision of  managing director Derek Shaw to sign up Appleton without Singh’s backing.

The surprising element of the training season was the return of Danny Murphy. The 36-year-old was signed up by Singh for a 2-year stint, under a payment scheme of £45,000 a week. However, the contract is also liable to be extended by 1 year.

Murphy, who was dropped from the side by Appleton, is quite old to pocket such an expensive contract. However, he may be playing in the first XI again after Appleton being replaced by Bowyer as the manager.

The situation is gradually turning chaotic, as lots of CVs are coming in for the managerial post. However, Bevan told The Independent that the “‘embarrassing’ toll of sackings – 103 jobs lost in 2012-13 when coaching staff are taken into account – was turning managers into ‘sub-contractors’. Many managers feel they are not employed,” Bevan said. “That’s why they can cope with regular sacking. With this blatant disregard of employment law, we are undermining managers, why would they want to become a manager when 60 per cent of first-time managers never work again after their first job?”

A total of 60 managers were dismissed, while 14 managers resigned this season. Rovers’ sacking of Appleton and League One Stevenage’s sacking of Gary Smith were the 32nd and the 33rd dismissals respectively, LMA said. “That’s over 100 people, 100 managers, 100 families,” Bevan declared. “I don’t know where the arrogance comes from where we don’t have to behave like any other industry.”

The troubled Blackburn Rovers are presently avoiding any communication with the outsiders. Bevan thinks FA and Football League should start to look into it but FA thinks it’s a responsibility of the League.

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