Hawick Royal Albert manager Atai: I’ve been stabbed in back

Mike Atai
Mike Atai

Sacked Hawick Royal Albert manager Mike Atai says he has been “betrayed” by his backroom staff who remain at the club.

Atai, who was appointed Albert boss in May, was relieved of his duties at the weekend, and he said the decision has left him stunned and

“I was informed on Sunday by phone when I was in Belgium that I’d been sacked,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t take it in and I am baffled. The team had been playing well and results had been quite good.”

When first joining Royalists, Atai had a backroom staff of coaches Jason Girdwood and Dean Shanks, as well as Barry Campell who was in charge of football operations and the managerial team’s liaison man with the Albert committtee.

Girdwood, however, was to depart almost immediately, with Dean Robertson, a former Hearts and Airdrie signing, being brought in as a replacement.

The Albert’s performances under this set-up were promising, and reflecting on this, Atai added: “I was happy with the way things were going, but unknown to me, Dean Shanks, Barry Campbell and Dean Robertson did not like the way I was running the side.

“The gave the committee the ultimatum that they would leave or I should. The committee went with them.

“It’s not the committee’s fault and I’d like to thank them for their support while I was with the club. However, I fell there has been a lot of back-stabbing going on and that I’ve been betrayed.”

Royal Albert chairman Jim Borthwick said: “There has been a bit of unrest. We were informed by the two Deans [Robertson and Shanks] that team meetings with Mike would be held on a Friday to plan and discuss the Saturday’s game.

“Come the Saturday, however, Mike would completely change the team selection and f ormation. They [Robertson and Shanks] were not prepared to accept this and said they would move on. It was as simple as that.

“They have a lot of experience between them and the committee decided to stand by them, and Mike is now finished.

“It was a big decision to make.”

Dean Shanks has now been appointed manager, and Dean Robertson his assistant.