Manager sacked for sleeping with one of his players TELLS his side of story

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Leicester City manager Willie Kirk was sacked by the club six weeks ago after he started a sexual relationship, which he is still in, with one of his players.

His dismissal sparked widespread debate and criticisms from all quarters.

Now the former coach has come out to share his sides of the story – how he became involved in a relationship while he was manager of Leicester City.

Some Few Things on His Chest

Kirk takes a deep breath and says he wants to take accountability for his actions. But he also wants to set the record straight.

‘There’s a number of things I need to get off my chest,’ Kirk says. ‘First of all, me and my wife have been separated for over a year.

‘I think people just now are going “he’s a bad coach, he’s a bad husband, he’s a bad human.”’

How the Relationship Started

He first joined Leicester as their director of football in July 2022 but when the club sacked Lydia Bedford later that year, he agreed to take over. Leicester were bottom of the table with zero points after six games, but Kirk led them to a remarkable great escape.

It was in the months following this and after the new season had started that Kirk unexpectedly received an approach.

‘One of the players contacted me away from work to express their feelings for me,’ Kirk says. ‘I said “that is ridiculous” and just shut it down. That was that.’

Ke Kept Rejecting Advances

Kirk says he rejected repeated advances over the coming months. I kept shutting it down and said “it’s never going to happen, there’s a code of conduct.”’

Things changed when the player picked up an injury at the end of last year. ‘I think this is what justified it to us,’ Kirk says.

‘She picked up an injury at the tail end of the calendar year and was doing her rehab away from the training ground.

They Started Seeing Each Other

‘Just before Christmas, I agreed to meet on a personal level. She was injured so it wasn’t going to stop me doing my job because she couldn’t be selected.

‘Obviously I was trying to justify it to myself, which never made it right. After Christmas we started seeing each other once a week, so she’d come here, or the week after I’d go to hers.Kirk knew the relationship was unethical.

‘We would arrive in the dark, we would leave in the dark, clearly because we knew it was wrong.In the February international break, Kirk and his partner took a risk that proved pivotal.

A Step Too Far

‘I said I was going to go away for a few days to Milan. And she said “why do we not go away together?” I told her that was a step too far, but eventually we agreed to a few days away.

‘We convinced each other that we could do it. We flew out on different days and spent two nights in Italy then we got separate flights back.

‘When we came back, we said “I think this has gone too far, we need to knock this on the head until the end of the season and either I’ll leave the club or you’ll leave the club.”

‘We had agreed we were taking too much of a risk.’

Somebody Found Them Out

What Kirk did not realise is that his relationship had been discovered by an official at another Women’s Super League club, who reported him to Leicester.

‘I got pulled into a meeting saying there had been a complaint made about me and the club lawyer would be in touch and the external lawyers would arrange an investigation.

The D-Day

‘Ten days came and went. We were building up to the FA Cup game against Liverpool. Fifteen minutes before the last training session on the Friday, I got pulled into the office by the women’s director and the internal lawyer was there and I just knew what it was.

‘They said we need you to be honest with us “are you in a relationship with a player?” “We know all about it, we know you’ve been to Italy, we know it started just before Christmas.”’

His Admission

Kirk then admitted the relationship and, after a three-week investigation, was sacked for gross misconduct. Kirk unsuccessfully appealed the decision. The player remains at the club.

‘From admitting it, I was treated and felt like a criminal,’ Kirk says.

‘I feel the club could have dealt with it better. I felt there was a lack of consistency with previous investigations.

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He Takes Responsibility

‘It’s on me, it’s my fault, I should never have gone through with anything. There is a code of conduct, I was involved with putting it in place, I was certainly involved with living by it on a day-to-day basis and trying to drive our standards, so it is absolutely ridiculous that I’m the one that’s broken it.

‘I think the way it was dealt with created a lot of uncertainty and rumours and counter-rumours.

‘I don’t think that helped the players or the staff and I think we’re now seeing that in results. They got through the Liverpool game but they’ve picked up two draws in the last seven games.

He Feels Wronged

‘As difficult as it would have been, I felt I was due an audience with the staff and the players to explain myself and apologise face-to-face and to give my side of the story.

‘It might not have kept me there, but we’ll never know.’Kirk is not asking for sympathy, but says it has been difficult not being able to give his side of the story.

‘It’s been frustrating. Wrongly, I think a lot of that frustration has turned into hate. I’ve hated myself. I hated the club. I’ve had moments where I have resented the relationship even though the relationship is still going on.

‘This wasn’t a manager exerting their power who said “jump into bed with me and I’ll play you in the starting XI.”

‘I’ve just carried this hate, which is wrong, but it’s come from this frustration of not being able to speak about it.

A Mistake, Not a Crime

‘I’m not a criminal, I’ve not committed a crime. I’ve jeopardised an environment and that is a pretty big thing. The club made mistakes in the past, I came in, turned around a points gap that had never been turned around before, retained WSL status. Now I’ve made a mistake and they don’t want anything to do with me. I felt let down by the club in terms of that.’

Prior to his dismissal from Leicester, Kirk was regarded as one of the brightest managers in the WSL.

Kirk has been in management and women’s football for the last 14 years. His CV includes Scottish Cup wins with Hibernian, an FA Cup final with Everton and promotion with Bristol City.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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