Wakefield Wildcats chairman Michael Carter has admitted he was shocked by the resignation of head coach Brian Smith, even though he conceded that he had a ‘frosty’ relationship with the Australian.
The 61-year-old suddenly quit the Wildcats on Tuesday, much to the surprise of people both internally at the Wildcats and from outside the club.
Smith had only been in charge of the Wildcats for nine months.
Speaking at the club’s press conference, Carter admitted he was surprised by what had happened.
“I actually got a text message from a CEO of another club asking if I was on the look-out for a new head coach, which came as a bit of a surprise,” he said.
“I texted him back saying, ‘I don’t know what you are on about’, and within an hour Brian walked into the office, said he was terminating his contract and walked out. And that was it.”
“I was a little stunned, but, by his manner, you could tell it was a decision that wasn’t going to get changed.”
Carter admitted that the relationship between the two hadn’t been on the greatest of terms since late last year.
“We’ve had a frosty relationship since Christmas.
“He was the highest paid coach we’ve ever had, 19 of the 31 squad members were signings or re-signings that he sanctioned, it’s the highest playing budget we’ve ever had and we put extra resources into strength and conditioning, phsyio and training facilities.
“From my point of view, I tried to back him to the hilt with everything he wanted. I guess at the end of the day that wasn’t enough.
“We make no secret of the fact that we don’t spend the salary cap because we haven’t got someone that’s willing to throw £250,000 or £600,000 away year on year like two other clubs have.
“Brian was aware of that when he came across here. We tried our best to back him. I can’t ever recall having a request for something and saying, ‘No’.
“I don’t feel let down. He’s obviously got his reasons for leaving. He came across last year and did the job I asked him to, he kept us in Super League.”
Recently departed Hull KR head coach Chris Chester and former Leigh chief Paul Rowley are the favourites to take over.