Outspoken Ireland winger James McClean has called former Derry City manager Roddy Collins "pathetic" and spoke of how he was involved in a training-ground altercation last Wednesday with his son, Roddy Jr.
Collins' tenure as Derry City manager ended on May 11 after he was sacked due to the club's disastrous start to the League of Ireland season - a run of games that Collins himself said he would not have paid to watch. His exit provoked Twitter comment from former Derry City player James McClean, who described the sacking as "inevitable" and that Collins had an "ego bigger than the club". He also criticised Collins' son, Roddy Jr, who is a defender at City.
Collins was sacked after 12 games in charge at the Brandywell, during which time his side won just two games. He has since claimed that McClean's tweets have led to his children experiencing schoolyard bullying, forcing the Dubliner to take them out of school.
Speaking on Off the Ball on Newstalk, Collins said:
I don’t use Twitter, but it (McClean’s comment) was brought to my attention by my kids – who took some abuse in the school yard over it because he has a high profile, so I had to take them out of school.
It was very difficult last week because the kids were extremely upset and when they are annoyed, I am doubly so. They are my priority.
McClean expressed his disbelief at Collins' comments, claiming that he had been made a "scapegoat" . He said:
Roddy Collins, Sr has said in the newspapers that my Twitter comments have caused his children to be bullied and he had to take them out of school.
How, in any way, could my football opinion cause that? I didn’t attack his personal life - so how could my opinion of him as a football manager cause that?
I’m sure there’s a lot of people in the past who don’t rate him as a manager either but I never attacked his personal life in any way and I would never do that to anybody. So I thought that was a bit pathetic to be honest.
He wanted to use me as a scapegoat. He’s come in and he’s messed up the job and paid for it in the end.
According to the Derry Journal, McClean spoke of an alleged altercation with Roddy Collins Junior when the Irish international stopped by at a Derry City training session last Wednesday. It is alleged that the younger Collins confronted McClean about his Twitter comments and a "minor scuffle" ensued. McClean also said that Collins Jr "wouldn't get a game in an astro league", which surely added to the Collins' indignation.
I was driving past (Brandywell) and called in to see the lads and was chatting to them before training and obviously he (Roddy Collins Jr.) wanted to get whatever he wanted off his chest.
I said my piece on Twitter and, at the end of the day, I stand by my opinions.
If he can’t take criticism then he’s in the wrong game. He confronted me about it and I told him the same thing. I told him that was my opinion and he got a bit excited. It was over before it started and there wasn’t a big deal made of it. I don’t have a personal vendetta against Roddy Collins senior or junior, but I gave my view based on a football opinion and I stand by it.
I don’t rate either of them and they probably don’t rate me. I don’t want negative publicity and I don’t see what I’ve done wrong.
I told him I don’t rate him as a player - which I don’t. And he took that bad but it was over within 30 seconds.
"Over before it started", then "over within 30 seconds?" A lot can happen in a 30-second altercation. Either way, McClean's response is quite measured, even if his decision to stop by the Brandywell was always going to court a hostile reaction from Collins. The Wigan winger is not the only well-known figure to have publicly criticised Roddy's reign - Brian Kerr was fairly forthright in his appraisal of the Cabra man's time in the Northwest.
McClean is in Martin O'Neill's squad for the game against Turkey on Sunday afternoon.