City chairman reveals Wright-Phillips 'contradiction'

Last updated at 14:49 28 October 2005

Manchester City chairman John Wardle has claimed Shaun Wright-Phillips went back on his word when he decided to join Chelsea in the summer.

Wright-Phillips eventually moved to Stamford Bridge in a £21million deal after dramatically pulling out of a pre-season friendly at Macclesfield, then phoning Wardle as he left Moss Rose to inform him of his desire to leave.

During the conversation, Wright-Phillips contradicted early assurances he had given Wardle that he intended to stay with City, leaving the Blues owner with little alternative other than to let him quit the club who signed him as a trainee after Nottingham Forest rejected him for being too small.

"It was with great reluctance that this sale was undertaken," said Wardle.

"Indeed, the transaction was only sanctioned after, to my great surprise, Shaun contradicted personal assurances that he wanted to remain at Manchester City and dramatically, on the eve of our friendly against Macclesfield, informed me that his perspective had changes and he wished to move to Chelsea."

Despite losing their best player just three weeks before the season started, City have made light of Wright-Phillips' departure and head into the weekend fixtures in sixth spot.

Wardle heaps much of the credit for that situation onto the shoulders of manager Stuart Pearce, who has been an unqualified success since replacing Kevin Keegan in March.

Pearce exceeded all expectations last term when he guided the Blues to within a missed Robbie Fowler penalty of a place in the UEFA Cup and although they have lost three of their last five Premiership fixtures and tumbled out of the Carling Cup to League Two Doncaster, Wardle has nothing but praise for the former England skipper's contribution.

"I cannot speak highly enough of the comprehensive impact made by Stuart Pearce," he said.

"He immediately galvanised the playing squad, with a style based on hard work, discipline and honesty and had taken a real interest in every aspect of our football club.

"His appointment as manager was the catalyst for a change in our fortunes and his passion and vigour perfectly compliments our enthusiasm and ambition."

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now