CRESTFALLEN coach Matt Darlow believes player power may have been responsible for his sacking from Sheffield Steeldogs.
The one-time Steeler and Scimitar, who started playing in the city in 1992, was relieved of his post in a phone call from owner Shane Smith this week.
He has been replaced by former Elite League star Andre Payette, whom he signed recently.
Darlow told The Star: “I was told the lads had been asked (about him) and that it was no longer feasible that I stayed. Shane granted me the chance to say goodbye to them and I told them I’d heard they’d wanted a change of coach, effectively. It was quite a dejected changing room, but I shook hands with them before leaving. I was gutted.
“It’s embarrassing to be the only coach in the history of this club to have been released.”
Asked if he had been the victim of a player revolt, the Worksop-based 34-year-old said: “I wouldn’t have thought so. I thought we’d had a really good rapport.”
While results have been poor, they were consistent with a team working with the smallest budget in the English Premier League, said Darlow.
“I take responsibility for results, but all we were trying to do was emulate last year’s Scimitars team and get into a seventh or eighth play-off position despite the fact we had half the budget this year. I felt we were on course,” he said.
Of Payette, Worksop-based Darlow said: “He is the leader of the team, vocally and the obvious choice for the job. He texted me to wish me well.”
n Rob Globke is enjoying a new lease of life after being moved to the centreman’s role at Sheffield Steelers, says bench coach Neil Abel.
The club felt they were not getting as much as they could out of the 28-year-old American recently and switched him to a more central role.
And that has suited both him and his colleagues, says Abel.
“Mabye he was getting a bit stale on the wing on a line with Ben (Simon) and Neil (Clark.) But since moving to centre the line with Ash (Tait) and Joey (Talbot) he has found a lot more freedom do whatever he wants.
“His job now is to be a playmaker and be the first one back to help the defence.
“Having extra responsibility doesn’t faze him, he can play either or. As a centre, he gets much more involved than on the wing, at face-offs and starting off plays. He has a long stride and good hands and is very effective indeed.”
Ex-Florida Panthers man Globke, who has scored six times in the last five games, has one problem though - his distaste for British refereeing.
“That’s the one thing that makes him frustrated. In north America they let more things go but over here they call stupid things and aren’t consistent. That gets to him a bit.” Abel believes Steelers will not bring in anybody new before Monday’s deadline, despite hints to the contrary.
“There aren’t many about. The name of Craig Weller came but he did his own deal with Cardiff Devils)
Steelers, who play at Hull tomorrow, have re-arranged next weekend’s home games: Friday v Nottingham (7.30pm), Saturday v Coventry (7pm)