Mishap in Sliema’s three year plan as Azzopardi is fired

Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 10:27

by Sandro Micallef

Sliema’s much awaited three year plan may take a new twist as it has been confirmed that the Blue’s coach Stephen Azzopardi has terminated his commitments as first team coach. It is believed that the Sliema President Stephen Abela called Azzopardi on his mobile on Monday night and informed him that during an urgent committee meeting it was decided that the Team is to change coach. Sources close to the Sliema committee confirmed with journalists that this was not an unanimous decision as some committee members did not agree that Azzopardi was to be removed. During Monday’s call Azzopardi was asked to issue a statement that he was resigning, with the latter rebutting this proposal and informing the Blues President that he would not accept this form of exit strategy. Azzopardi insisted that if the Club wanted to part ways, it should be honest and ask him to move.

Stephen Azzopardi's three year plan down the drain

Stephen Azzopardi's three year plan down the drain

Sportinmalta.com is informed that this decision came after Sliema’s dismal performance against Hamrun Spartans last weekend when they lost 3-0. Ironically Azzopardi had led the team to two important wins prior to the Hamrun game, with wins against title-contenders Valletta and Tarxien respectively. Insiders told this website that this was a planned move and it would have happened any time this season following Sliema’s struggling opening in the 2009/10 season.

This situation leaves Azzopardi with a year and a half pending on his contract as Sliema coach which is deposited at the MFA, so theoretically Stephen Abela and Co are liable for the money still owned till the end of the 2010/11 season. The situation might have had another twist as both parties met on Tuesday night where a financial resolution seemed to have been reached but not communicated to any sector of the Press.

In the meantime Mark Marlow ex Msida coach is set to initiate talks with the Blues to explore the possibility of leading the team till the end of the season along with assistant player / coach Noel Turner. Mark Marlow is to meet Stephen Abela this afternoon. It is not being excluded that Abela, General Secretary Mario Debono and Team Manager Rupert Perry hold talks with other coaches.

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