But the most bizarre episode came with Dessie Byrne – a 17 year old just breaking into the first team..An incident in a local club, involving what might allegedly and euphemistically be called a ‘glassing’, left Ian Moore sporting a black eye amongst other things. Dessie had apparently displeased some of the (ahem) tougher elements of the Salford area. Retribution was sought as a vanload of hooded and tooled-up characters descended on a training session.
Showing much of the spirit they did throughout the season, the players fled to the sanctuary of the dressing-room leaving Megson to face the foe. Showing the same oratorical skills he displayed in his on-pitch addresses to the fans, but perhaps with more success, he managed to calm the situation. It led to Byrne’s quick trip to the airport, more for his own safety, but with employment at County terminated. The whole affair was cloaked in secrecy, with all the players under orders not to comment.
There was lots of talk about Byrne being a fall-guy for a more senior player in the episode, but the fundamental question as to why senior professionals were encouraging under-age drinking still remains unanswered – and, given the Tribunal’s verdict that dismissal was not unfair, will presumably remain a mystery.
It was a season of ill discipline - added to the Byrne episode, Wilbraham and Chris Byrne found themselves at odds with the law, and Harry McNally, (Chief Scout), was summarily dismissed after a scouting trip to Scotland which produced no players but a hefty bar bill.
The whole season is summarised - Survival of the Fattest 1998/99
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