HULL CITY’S owners last night got their search for a new manager under way after calling time on Nick Barmby’s six-month reign.
The Tigers sacked the former England international a little over a week after initially suspending him following a major bust-up.
Comments made by Barmby during April about the club needing to match his ambition in the summer transfer market triggered the falling-out, which reached a climax yesterday at a disciplinary hearing attended by both the owners and the now former Hull manager.
Assem and Ehab Allam, who saved Hull in 2010, were furious with the implication that funds may not have been forthcoming for team strengthening and revealed that they had made available £40,000-per-week wages for a “proven Premier League striker” in January.
Barmby has indicated his intention to appeal against the dismissal and will be backed in that quest by the League Managers’ Association’s legal team.
Despite the imminent launching of that appeal, the Hull board are actively searching for a new manager with former Tigers boss Phil Brown among those interested in a vacancy that, even allowing for the possibility of the spat between the club and Barmby reaching the courts, will be one of the most desirable of the summer.
Mick McCarthy is another contender following his recent departure from Wolves along with former Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies.
Lee Clark and Gary Megson, sacked by Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday respectively in February, are also among those the Yorkshire Post understands to be keen on the post.
The trauma at the KC Stadium began last Monday with rumours suggesting Barmby had been suspended.
Hull refused to comment but a day later the club’s head of football operations Adam Pearson had his consultancy agreement torn up by the Allams.
The departure of such a strong ally of Barmby further fanned speculation over the manager’s future, and yesterday vice chairman Ehab Allam confirmed the boss’s departure in an official statement.
It read: “The reason for the dismissal relates to certain comments made by Nick in recent interviews.
“The comments concerned were wholly misleading and implied that the board had not made funds available to Nick to strengthen the first-team squad during the January transfer window.
“Such is not only completely untrue, the comments made by Nick contradicted the board’s publicly stated position that funds would be made available to Nick during the January transfer window.
“As stated in previous interviews, the board accepted every transfer request from Nick and in fact actively encouraged him to strengthen the squad should he feel it was necessary.
“The board consider the comments made by Nick unjustifiably cast public doubt on the honesty and integrity of the board and its members.
“The relationship between the team manager and the board is of prime importance to the success of any football club.
“In making the comments Nick made, he completely undermined the trust and confidence that needs to exist between the team manager and the board.
“The club sincerely hopes that its fans will recognise that the decision to dismiss Nick was not taken lightly.
“The decision was taken following meetings with Nick where he had every opportunity to state his case and make representations.”
Barmby, however, has hit back through the LMA. His statement read: “I maintain that my sacking was entirely without justification. In everything I have done for the club, I have always acted in the best interests of Hull City.
“I was told (Tuesday) that I had seven days in which to submit an appeal against my dismissal and yet the club has now made an official statement on behalf of the board, stating publicly the alleged reasons for my dismissal and indicating that the search for a new manager will begin immediately.
“I, nevertheless, intend to appeal. It would not be appropriate for me to make further comment at this stage.”