Riga: It was the very worst circumstances

Jose Riga
Jose Riga
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Jose Riga has spoken publicly for the first time since his sacking as Blackpool manager, describing his time at Bloomfield Road as “the very worst circumstances”.

The Belgian was sacked just over a fortnight ago, having won just one of his 15 games in charge.

His time at Bloomfield Road was overshadowed by high-profile rows with chairman Karl Oyston and problems in the transfer market.

Pool signed 17 players in two weeks before the season began, though the manager stated his squad was not good enough for Championship survival.

Riga invited a delegation of Pool fans from the Blackpool Supporters Trust to meet him in London on Monday and hear his side of the story. Some national newspapers were also invited.

Accounts of the meeting emerged late last night and Riga is reported as saying of his transfer targets: “I proposed some names. I wanted good young English players but , with 25 years’ coaching experience, there is also my knowledge of French players from Belgium, knowing what Holland can bring, what Spain can bring ...

“But it seemed there was a problem with every player I proposed.

“I’m not stupid. I wasn’t talking about unreasonable players. And if you think it’s not reasonable, just tell me and OK we move to another one.

“I’ll put it this way: you want to buy a car and you are offered a bike. You say, ‘No, I want the car because you need a car.’

“I must have reviewed more players in three months than I had done in 10 years.”

Riga had been in charge for only six games when Oyston approached both Owen Coyle and Gary Rowett with a view to replacing the Belgian while he was away in his homeland.

This left Riga in a difficult position on his return to the Fylde coast.

Riga is reported to have told Monday’s gathering: “I just wanted a normal relationship between an owner and a manager, based on confidence. I was waiting for that kind of support.

“People were saying: ‘Have you seen what he’s said?’ Of course it doesn’t help but I never spoke back about him. It’s part of my character.

“Part of my value is loyalty, honesty, dignity. And I prefer to die with my values and my ideas than those of other people.”