With just days to go until the biggest game of the season, Waterford FC have announced that manager Marc Bircham has been sacked.
It comes less than an hour after Bircham revealed on twitter that he had been suspended by the club.
The Blues face UCD on Friday night in the relegation playoff, with a loss at Richmond Park condemning Waterford to the First Division for 2022.
However, they'll have to survive without their manager, as he revealed that 'a difference of opinion on a couple of matters' with owner Richard Forrest has left him with a one week suspension, preventing him from taking charge on Friday evening.
Less than an hour later the club had tweeted that Bircham had been sacked, and that the club 'will be making no further comment at this time.'
Waterford FC have terminated the contract of Marc Bircham.
The club will be making no further comment at this time.
— Waterford FC (@WaterfordFCie) November 23, 2021
The former QPR player took charge of Waterford in May of this year with the Blues anchored to the bottom of the Premier Division. Despite a COVID situation which saw the club forefit one game and put out their U19 side in another, the Londoner has turned their fortunes around.
He was awarded a new two-year contract in August, and only this week had spoken about his confidence heading into the game against the Students, who beat Bray Wanderers to reach the playoff final.
Just when I thought this season couldn’t get any crazier !! pic.twitter.com/LdNi8QsPE2
— Marc Bircham (@marcbircham) November 23, 2021
Leaving Longford in the relegation places,Waterford have been battling with Finn Harps for the relegation place, and should they lose on Friday, they will be one of the teams with the highest points total ever to lose their Premier Division status.
"Knowing our luck" Bircham told RTE Soccer yesterday "Covid will probably strike and it will be played behind closed doors - that's the way our season's gone - but if it doesn't, hopefully we can take a large following up there."
However, their preparations have now been thrown into disarray, with the news that the man who led them to the brink of survival, has been relieved of his services, ahead of the biggest game of the season.
"Anyone that knows me knows I'm a man of my principles and will stick to them" Bircham said in a statement, posted on Twitter this morning.
It's expected that Assistant Manager Dave Bell will now take charge of the side in Bircham's absence, in a do-or-die game for the Blues. However the questions surrounding Bircham's departure, and particularly its timing, will surround the club for weeks to come.