Premier League legend Dwight Yorke has lifted the veil on his acrimonious exit from Macarthur Bulls, revealing the bizarre chain of events behind the dressing room tirade which prompted his departure.
Depicted by Bulls officials as the villain after describing the club as “Mickey Mouse” and a “pub team” during an epic spray following January’s 1-0 loss to Adelaide United, Yorke countered by accusing the Bulls of “cowboy behaviour” and “unprofessional conduct”.
The Manchester United icon, who is seeking compensation over his contract termination after only seven months and 13 games, provided context to his change-room outburst by disclosing a pre-match pretext for what ultimately unfolded.
Preparing to board the team bus for Hindmarsh Stadium three hours out from kick off, Yorke was stunned to be told by tearful striker Anthony Carter that his contract had been summarily cancelled by Bulls bosses.
Carter’s predicament came as news to Yorke, who had the 28-year-old in his match day plans.
Players promptly trooped off the bus to hug their distraught teammate, whilst an aghast Yorke took in a scene he’d never witnessed before during his decorated 19-year playing career.
Bulls officials hastily arranged a flight back to Sydney and an Uber to the airport for Carter, who was literally left by the curbside at the team hotel.
“It was the most ridiculous thing and I knew nothing about it,” Yorke told FTBL.
“It showed a total lack of empathy to the player, was disrespectful to me and unprofessional by the club,
“Anthony travelled with us, did the team talk, trained well, looked good - and suddenly he’s on a plane back to Sydney. And nobody has the decency to call and explain what’s behind it all.”
That incident set the tone for a tumultuous 24 hours in which a flurry of text messages, whilst Yorke and his assistant Russell Latapy were on a plane back to Sydney, told them they were both out the door.
Yorke claims to have heard nothing from either Marra or CEO Sam Krslovic since, and says he hasn’t been permitted back at the club’s Campbelltown base to clear his desk and retrieve belongings.
“None of what went on at the hotel helped us that day, and I let my feelings be known after the match,” added Yorke.
“The chairman came in and spoke first, telling me I should have acknowledged our fans at the end which I agree with. He then said the result didn’t matter which I didn’t agree with.
“His timing was a little bit off, shall we say. We’re in a situation where we should have gone third in the table that day.
“Like I said to the players, it looked like the club was run like a Mickey Mouse slash pub team. The people at the top have to understand that I’m a winner, I’m here to win - and if you don’t want that then I’m the wrong guy.
“The club can spin it any way they like but I was there to win at all costs. The dressing room is my domain and I’m within my rights to say what I like. I’ve seen managers go crazy, but I wasn’t crazy and was well calculated in what I was saying.
“There were harsh words from me towards the players and the hierarchy because I felt if I let things slide it would continue to happen.”
Yorke’s outburst triggered an immediate parting of the ways, club sources inferring his comments towards his players had breached the terms of his contract.
Yorke, who is in the midst of legal action, challenges that assertion, whilst conceding he gave Jake Holman a grilling over a costly second half red card he warned his team to avoid.
The plot thickened on the return flight, with text messages dropping that Yorke was initially suspended, then another one stating that Latapy had been fired and finally that Yorke was out, all before they hit the tarmac at Mascot.
“If they didn’t like what I said they should have called me into the office to address the situation, and then perhaps terminate the contract,” added Yorke. “But instead they blocked me from coming back to the club. I can’t get my stuff.
“To end things the way they did with me I think the hierarchy lacked a lot of class.Things could have been sorted out amicably.”
Despite his maiden head coaching role turning so sour, Yorke, 51, is looking to get back on the horse elsewhere as soon as possible. He is currently in the UAE looking to do just that.
“Macarthur gave me the opportunity to step into management and I’m grateful for that,” Yorke said. “We won the Australia Cup, and brought several good young players through and I’m proud of what I achieved in a short time.
“I wish it could have continued because I think we could have done something unique. My biggest disappointment is for the players because I think we were building something. But now it’s time to move on.
“I have a taste of what it takes and I think I have the attributes to go all the way to the top, and I intend to do that.
“I plan to get back into the game as soon as possible whether that’s back in the UK, maybe Asia or the Middle East.
“What’s happened with Macarthur has made me even more determined and moving forward I’ll be better equipped to deal with certain situations and to ask certain questions.
“It’s a learning experience - that’s how you get better as a coach.”