Ian Baraclough has spoken candidly about the agony of being sacked by Motherwell just 10 games into the 2015-2016 Scottish season.
Baraclough (46) had been hailed as a hero after thrashing Rangers 6-1 on aggregate in a relegation play-off just four months earlier but was axed with ’Well struggling down in 10th place in the Scottish Premiership and out of the League Cup.
“I was called into the chief executive’s office that morning and Les Hutchison (then Motherwell FC owner) was on the phone from Barbados,” Baraclough said.
“I probably knew it was coming as soon as they said: ‘Les wants to speak to you’.
“I remember trying to put my case forward to Les that I was the right person to move the club forward.
“I said a lot of the players I’d brought in were still getting used to Scottish football.
“I told Les I was still confident about me and my staff delivering a successful season.”
But Baraclough’s pleadings cut no ice with Hutchison who fired him on the spot.
“It was a major shock to be sacked just three months after keeping Motherwell up,” Baraclough added.
“That was the third time it had happened to me and it is never easy, especially when you are still building something. You need to get used to it, because people want instant success.
“You are tried by social media. And it takes a strong owner and chairman to stand by you and ignore criticisms because it is not an easy job.
“We’d brought a few new players in who needed to acclimatise and it didn’t happen overnight.”
Baraclough admitted he’d made a fatal error in the game which proved to be his last in charge of Motherwell, a shock 3-2 League Cup defeat after extra time at Morton the night before he was fired.
“I learned a lesson because I didn’t play my strongest team that night,” added the Englishman.
“I was thinking about an important league game against Partick that weekend so I rested Scott McDonald and Keith Lasley. Stephen Pearson was half fit so I rested him too.”
Ironically, Baraclough was talking about his dismissal in the wake of his friend and managerial colleague Steve Robinson being sacked as Oldham Athletic manager.
Robinson – formerly Baraclough’s assistant at Motherwell – had only been in the Oldham post for six months but was fired this month with the Latics bottom of English League One, having achieved only seven wins in 33 games as gaffer.
It seems Baraclough is remaining as Oldham assistant manager under their new gaffer John Sheridan.