Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Thursday June 8 2006
Whilst Stoke City and its fans tread water waiting for the new manager to be appointed, John Rudge and Johan Boskamp have been commenting on last season's troubles.
John Rudge, who was suspended by the club towards the end of last season as the relationship between manager and director of football became untenable, has issued a statement this week in which he describes what it was like to work with the stubborn Boskamp. Rudge said that up to the infamous game against Coventry, he believed that he enjoyed a good working relationship including spending time at Boskamp's home in Belgium the previous week.
He also revealed that Boskamp nearly quit only a couple of weeks into the job:
'While having a coffee late one night with Jan de Koning and myself on our pre-season tour in Germany,' says Rudge, 'Johan Boskamp talked of phoning the ex-Chairman and quitting the job as he realised the enormity of the task in rebuilding the squad.
'I talked him into staying for the good of Stoke City FC. I had gladly worked night and day to help him, especially in the transfer market to get a team together that could compete in the Championship.'
Rudge accepts that his rash venture into the technical area at Coventry was a mistake, but never expected Boskamp to be so stubborn after apologies had been made and thinks that had the story not been leaked to the press, then everything could have been sorted out behind the scenes.
Johan Boskamp, who has now been appointed head coach at Standard Liege, has confirmed that he did consider resigning whilst in Germany, but added that at Standard he was finding it easier to recruit players than at Stoke. That I do not find difficult to believe as Standard have qualified for the Champions League next season by virtue of finishing runners-up in the Belgium League!
It has been suggested in the local press that Boskamp would try and poach Sam Bangoura and Carl Hoefkens. Not surprisingly, Boskamp has categorically denied having any interest in Bangoura, who exasperated the manager with his many off the field adventures and whom Standard Liege managed to offload onto an unsuspecting Stoke City in the first place. Carl Hoefkens however, could prove of interest but Boskamp has limited himself to saying 'no, not at the moment' when asked if he would put in a bid for the Potters` player of the season.
Boskamp was asked if he misses the Potteries: 'It was a great time at Stoke because there was always something happening,' he says.
'I like the way the people live for their football club. I miss Stoke a little bit already.'
Not too much then?
Date:Thursday June 8 2006
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