'Pain in the backside': Chris Waddle opens up on Burnley boardroom frustrations during short-lived management spell
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The former England star made the move from Sunderland in 1997 to become the club’s player-boss.
A season of struggle followed, but Waddle managed to keep the Clarets in the third tier by the skin of their teeth with a win against Plymouth Argyle on the final day of the season.
Waddle felt he could have achieved something special going forwards, but revealed he had no option but to step down due to his issues with the club’s decision-makers.
“I had loads of problems with the board,” he told FourFourTwo.
“As a manager, you just want to get the team right to win football matches, whereas all the board looks at is finances and suddenly you’re arguing about hotel bills.
“At Burnley, for away games, you weren’t allowed both breakfast and a pre-match meal, it had to be one or the other. You had to compile a list of players and what they’d chosen.
“We played at Northampton and won 1-0. There was a board meeting every Monday with sandwiches and a bottle of wine. It came up that they’d noticed somebody had both a breakfast and a pre-game meal prior to the Northampton match.
“They asked me who it was and I said I didn’t know. I’d had enough. We were battling to get out of the relegation zone, playing well and I got that.
“I asked how much the offending brekkie had cost – it was £10.30, so I went on about the red wine and a la carte menu they enjoyed the night before the game, on a Burnley credit card.
“I told them I’d never attend one of these meetings again. I handed over £10, saying I owed 30p and I’d bring it in the next day.
“We got on with the rest of the season. I had a good set of players and we beat Plymouth on the last day to stay up.
“Everyone was on a high. With a couple of new players, we could make the play-offs the following season.
“I went into the boardroom after that win and it was flat – they obviously didn’t want me there and all I received was a half-hearted ‘well done’ from a few of them.
“I met the chairman on the Monday. I told him we needed two players, but the response was that we had to sell players instead.
“I said the best thing was for me to leave. I thanked them for the opportunity and that was that. I did the best I could, but I couldn't see any future with them wanting to sell my best four players. I loved the football side, but the rest was a pain in the backside.”
It would prove to be Waddle’s one and only job in football management, leaving Burnley at the end of the 1997/98 campaign to join Torquay United.
Further spells with the likes of Worksop Town, Glapwell and Hallam followed.
As for the Clarets, they would appoint legendary boss Stan Ternent and went on to finish 15th in the Second Division the following season.