THE BOARD of directors of Chester City Football Club have accused ex-manager Mark Wright of personal and professional misconduct.
The club issued an extraordinary, detailed statement in which it made a series of allegations regarding the circumstances leading to Wright's resignation on August 6, just 24 hours before the new Coca Cola League campaign got under way.
Wright had been at the Deva Stadium for two and a half years, winning the Nationwide Conference title and promotion back to the Football League for Chester last season.
The statement said Wright had been given the benefit of the doubt in August 2003 after denying having a relationship with the fiancee of Chester player Wayne Hatswell.
Hatswell was then granted a transfer request to Kidderminster Harriers. Wright continued to deny any relationship with Hatswell's former girlfriend.
The statement continued: "During the summer of 2004, the pair were seen together ... on a trip to Dubai. Upon his return, Mr Wright was verbally warned by the chairman as to his future conduct.
"Mr Wright later admitted to the vice-chairman that he and Hatswell's former girlfriend were living together at his Wirral home.
"This whole affair, and in particular Mr Wright's conduct, was to be a significant factor in the departure of two senior players from the club. Both players refused to sign the much improved offers made to them."
The statement added that Wright was paid directly by City chairman Stephen Vaughan's company Vaughan Promotions (Merseyside) Ltd throughout his 2 1/2-year tenure: "Mr Wright refused to sign a contract offered by Chester City to protect his own interests and personal finances during his recent divorce."
It alleged that Wright refused to sign an improved three-year contract at Chester before the start of the new season, unless new contracts were offered to assistant manager David Moss, chief scout Alan Lewer and kit man Alan Cottrell.
"He further demanded that it be a condition of his contract that Mr Hatswell's former fiancee would be able to attend matches at the Deva Stadium."
The statement also accused Wright of "persistently flouting his managerial position" over the size and budget of the first-team squad. "Having already over committed the budget for the 2004-05 season, he continued to pursue additional signings, promising prospective players contracts without Board permission, and having previously been told by the chairman that no more squad places were available."
It said Wright had been adamant in his desire to sell leading scorer Daryl Clare to either Boston United or Hornchurch, again against the wishes of the board and the player, for derisory sums.
"During his tenure Mr Wright made commitments to players regarding signing-on fees and relocation expenses, without the authority of the club to do so."
The board also claimed that Wright mismanaged contract negotiations with defender Phil Bolland right up to the day of his departure.
Former Liverpool and England defender Wright was unavailable for comment last night.
Wright's agent Colin Gordon said yesterday that he would be making no further comment on the matter.
At the weekend Wright said he took the decision to leave Chester City after deciding that the time had come for him to review his options and pursue his career elsewhere.