SWINDON Town chairman Jed McCrory has said he would be “disappointed” if a report former manager Paolo Di Canio is considering suing the club for breach of contract is true.
A story on The Sun's website tonight claims Di Canio is taking legal action against Town over the sale of Matt Ritchie to Bournemouth.
McCrory was not running the club at the time of the incident – Ritchie was sold on January 30 – and speaking exclusively to the Advertiser he stressed that he hoped no such circumstances would be forthcoming.
“These are incidents that were not in my control at the time. I would be disappointed if he did sue the club, for a man as passionate about football as Paolo,” he said.
“I would be disappointed if that is the truth. Knowing the paper stories that have come out previously I would be disappointed if that is true.
“I don’t know if it is true, I haven’t seen anything yet. As a football fan I’ll be disappointed if it’s true and I just want to work with people who want to take Swindon Town forwards and focus the club going forward.”
Di Canio, who announced his resignation from Town last week via a statement released to the Adver, has previously gone on record to state that Ritchie was sold to Swindon’s League One promotion rivals without his consent.
In a previous press release, issued on February 1, the Italian stressed that the winger had been offloaded behind his back.
He said: “When Phil (Spencer, Di Canio’s agent) met with (the incoming board) he was assured that Matt Ritchie would not be sold despite there being an offer from Bournemouth to acquire him. He was told “there is no way that we would sell one of our best players to one of our main competitors”.
“Consequently, we were assured that Matt Ritchie was going nowhere and money would be made available for the squad to be strengthened. Within an hour I received a phone call from Matt Ritchie telling me that the club had agreed to sell him and he was in the process of agreeing personal terms.
“I regard this as a clear breach of my contract with the Club and moreover, a clear attempt to undermine my position notwithstanding the success we have achieved in the last 18 months. Matt Ritchie was sold behind my back.”
The club’s former majority shareholder, Andrew Black, has since accepted that he sanctioned the transfer in the best interests of the club.
In a Twitter post on February 3, he wrote: “I did sanction the sale of Ritchie. I blocked it the first time it came up but agreed to it later believing it had to happen.”
Chief executive Nick Watkins had previously mentioned that the money generated by the sale of Ritchie, believed to be around £400,000 after the deduction of agent fees and the sell-on fee due to Portsmouth, was necessary to see Swindon through a state of flux between owners.
He said: “(If Ritchie had not been sold) then I think the dogs of administration would be straining at the leash right now.
“The club would always try to play it down because we always believed our salvation was in our own hands and we could avoid the financial cliff that we were faced with.”