New director of cricket Darren Gough eager to know why Yorkshire sacked 'friends' in coaching team

·4 min read
Yorkshire ready to appoint former England fast bowler Darren Gough as director of cricket - PA
Yorkshire ready to appoint former England fast bowler Darren Gough as director of cricket - PA

Darren Gough was on Monday night seeking answers about why Yorkshire sacked their entire coaching team – including some of his “friends” – after admitting it would make it even harder to turn the crisis-hit club around.

Gough, who was parachuted in on Monday as the county’s new managing director of cricket, revealed he had yet to receive a full explanation for Friday’s mass cull of 16 members of staff, one of whom it can be disclosed had been best man at his wedding and vice-versa.

The 51-year-old said he was “upset” for those who had been sacked without warning in the wake of the racism scandal to engulf the club and had spoken to “a couple” of them before his appointment was announced.

They included Paul Grayson, with whom Gough had been the closest of friends when they played together at Headingley and who had also briefly been in the same England team.

Grayson was sacked as Yorkshire’s batting coach last week, despite having not even been at the club when Azeem Rafiq complained he had been racially abused there.

The 50-year-old had been Gough’s best man when the latter married in 1993 before returning the honour the following year.

“I’m friends with a few of the guys,” Gough told talkSPORT, the radio station he quit to take the Yorkshire job. “They’re going to be so upset. I’m upset for them.”

Gough, who said he would meet with Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel on Wednesday, added: “The club have tried to make me understand why they felt it was necessary to do it and when I chat to them later this week, they will probably give me an answer.”

Gough also confirmed – as revealed by Telegraph Sport – that the county’s players had been “distraught” about what they viewed as indiscriminate sackings.

“They’re confused; they don’t know what’s going on,” he added. “They knew these coaches for a long time.”

Gough said having no coaching staff could mean him having to perform those duties himself while replacements were recruited, potentially including Essex’s highly-rated head coach Anthony McGrath, a former Yorkshire captain.

“This is an emergency situation,” said Gough, who promised to “make Yorkshire County Cricket Club a better, more inclusive, place” after having been among the first to make contact with Rafiq when the latter’s allegations were made public before becoming a fierce critic of how they were handled.

He also revealed he had rejected an offer to join the Headingley board last month because he did not want to be “the hatchet man” and that he had only been approached for what is initially an interim role on Friday.

“It was just something I couldn’t turn down,” said Gough, who spent 15 years at Headingley in two spells as a player, following what he dubbed “a rollercoaster” weekend.

News of Gough’s imminent appointment drew a ringing endorsement from England captain Joe Root, a lifelong Yorkshire player.

“He’s a good man and I’m sure he’ll be looking to put his stamp on things at the club,” Root said ahead of the start of the Ashes on Wednesday.

“From my experience of spending time with Goughie, he’s obviously very passionate and knowledgeable about the game. His love for it is clear for everyone to see. I’m sure he’ll want to bring all of that to the fore, all of his experience and achievements in the game and pass them on to the group.”

As revealed by the Telegraph, Yorkshire’s sacked staff met lawyers on Monday at a Leeds law firm to discuss taking legal action against the county en masse.

Those present spoke about going public with their devastation about their dismissals and how most of them had been willing to work under a new regime and embrace however the club wanted to move forward.

They were expected to ask for Yorkshire to retract any “gross misconduct” finding against them, compensate them accordingly, and do something to ensure their reputations were not unfairly tarnished as they sought new jobs.

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