Aizlewood sacking 'final straw' for Rush

Last updated at 14:25 06 April 2005


Ian Rush has resigned as manager of League Two club Chester.

The 43-year-old Liverpool legend and former Welsh international claims that "various events have gradually made it impossible for me to carry on" and the termination of the contract of his assistant Mark Aizlewood "without my consent was the final straw".

Rush took over at the Deva Stadium, where he started his illustrious playing career, as a replacement for Mark Wright in August last year.

At the time, Chester, who were promoted from the Conference last summer, stood bottom of the Football League.

His appointment had a galvanising effect and Rush won the League Two manager of the month award in October, as well as helping Chester reach the third round of the FA Cup.

But a downturn in Chester's fortunes, which saw them win three times in 17 matches either side of Christmas saw a split emerge between Rush and Aizlewood and chairman Stephen Vaughan early last month.

Vaughan claimed he had offered to settle the duo's contracts, while Rush's camp declared that they had not received a formal offer from the chairman.

The split, on the surface at least, seemed to have been resolved.

But despite picking up seven points from a previous nine available, Aizlewood's contract was terminated over the weekend following the 1-0 defeat at Darlington and now, with City nine points above the relegation zone, Rush has followed him out of the club.

"Unfortunately, throughout my tenure, various events have gradually made it impossible for me to carry on," said Rush.

"The club's decision to terminate the contract of my assistant, Mark Aizlewood, without my consent was the final straw.

"I was already considering my position after the much publicised comments from the club a few weeks ago.

"Loyalty is vital in football and I am a loyal person. When a valued member of my team is dismissed against my wishes, I have no option but to follow my principles."

Rush added: "People never know what goes on behind the scenes and that will remain the case.

"All I can say is that, in these extremely difficult circumstances, I believe that I was achieving the only goal I set myself - to keep Chester in the Football League.

"When you have sell your best players at low prices, then told there is no money for strengthening the squad, survival is the only target you can set yourself."

I hope to return to the game as soon as possible

Rush defended his record at Chester and admits he wants to return to football as soon as possible.

He continued: "Since I came to Chester, the team has lost only 13 games in 41.

"We have steered the club, slowly but surely, away from the foot of the table - where it was when I joined. Today the club is a good nine points away from relegation.

"People talk of a slump but how can you slump from the foot of the table to nine points clear of relegation?

"As for the future, my team and I have plenty to offer in management and coaching and I hope to return to the game as soon as possible.

"I wish Chester all the best for the future and would like to say thank you to the players who have been a pleasure to work with.

"I also wish to thank the supporters and ask them to get 100% behind the team for these next important matches.

"I would like to thank the chairman for giving my first opportunity in management, I am certainly more experienced and wiser for it."

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