Sacked Leicester boss compares treatment to criminal due . . .
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Sacked Leicester boss compares treatment to criminal due to player relationship.

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Willie Kirk was suspended and terminated by Leicester in March for entering into a relationship with a player, which violated their team’s code of conduct.

Former Leicester Women’s first-team manager Willie Kirk claims he was treated like a ‘criminal’ after being fired for having a connection with one of his players.

Kirk was named as the club’s Director of Football in July 2022 before taking over as manager four months later, following a dismal start to the WSL season. The 45-year-old helped take the Foxes to safety and led a remarkable FA Cup run to the semi-finals this season.

Kirk was suspended and then fired in March for violating the team’s code of conduct by engaging in the relationship. Kirk, who stated he was still with the player, accepted his crime but claimed he felt let down by the club after his dismissal.

“From admitting it, I was treated and felt like a criminal,” he told the Daily Mail. “I feel the club could have handled it better. I felt there was inconsistency with earlier investigations.

“As tough as it would have been, I felt I deserved an audience with the staff and players to explain myself, apologise face-to-face, and tell my side of the story. It may not have kept me there, but we will never know.

“This wasn’t a manager wielding power who said, ‘Jump into bed with me and I’ll put you in the starting lineup.’ I’ve basically carried this hatred, which is bad, but it stems from the frustration of not being able to express it.

“I am not a criminal, and I have not committed a crime. I’ve jeopardised the environment, which is a serious deal. The club had made mistakes in the past; I came in, turned around a points deficit that had never been closed before, and retained WSL status.

“I made a mistake, and now they don’t want anything to do with me. I feel let down by the club because of that.” Despite his dismissal, Kirk still aspires to work in women’s football.

“After 14 years of building my reputation, for it to be destroyed by one mistake, I feel would be harsh,” Kirk added. “It is my mistake and I should never have put myself in that position and I regret making that decision.

“I’m hoping that somebody is willing to see the good in me. I’m speaking to a couple of clubs outside the UK next week so hopefully something comes of that.”

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