Jan 19 2011 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
AIRDRIE find themselves in the eye of a storm after news of Scott Gibson and Ryan Wallace’s car park brawl became public knowledge.
Advertiser Sport assesses the fall-out from the fracas and attempts to make sense of a dramatic few days at New Broomfield.
Q. So what on earth has been going on then?
A. In a nutshell, Gibson and Wallace had a fight in the stadium car park after the Diamonds played Benburb in a friendly last Monday night.
It’s believed the pair came to blows after Gibson sent private messages on Facebook to his team-mate’s ex-girlfriend. Obviously, the club needed an incident like this like a hole in the head.
Q. What has been the club’s reaction?
A. After a couple of days of discussions, boss Jimmy Boyle sat down with both players at training on Thursday evening.
According to the manager, all parties agreed to the termination of the pair’s contracts, leaving them free to look for new clubs. Mutual consent is the phrase you are looking for.
Q. Blimey, is that not all a bit much?
A. Well, not really. There aren’t many businesses who will tolerate two employees having a punch-up in full public view. Why should a football club be any different?
In a statement issued at the weekend, Airdrie said no player had been sacked even though it sounds as if they had enough evidence to dismiss them on the grounds of gross misconduct.
Q. Have the club handled the whole incident well?
A. It could have been handled better. Airdrie tried to keep the whole thing hush-hush, but a Friday morning statement telling the fans what decisions had been taken would have been the better move.
Q. What are the players saying about it all?
A. Nothing for the moment. Advertiser Sport contacted Gibson and Wallace on Sunday but both have failed to respond to our request for comment.
Q. Will they take the matter to PFA Scotland?
A. Union involvement can’t be ruled out but there is no concrete indication that such action will be taken. It could be that both players have sought advice on what to do next.
Q. Haven’t we been here before with players fighting in public?
A. We most certainly have. In March 2009, Joe Cardle bizarrely ran across the field to push into innocent team-mate Marc Smyth during Airdrie’s 4-4 draw at home to Livingston.
Cardle, rightly, received a red card for his troubles and agreed to leave the Diamonds by “mutual consent” a few days later.
Q. How has the rest of the squad responded to what has happened?
A. Positively. The team performed well in the 2-2 draws with Brechin City and Morton and were in good spirits after both matches. They are unlikely to dwell on their former team-mates’ misdemeanour.