Perth Glory has sacked Alistair Edwards after the controversial coach insisted that Jacob Burns have his contract ripped up or at least be stripped of the captaincy.
Glory owner Tony Sage revealed his "shock" on Tuesday night at Edwards's refusal to accept any other outcome in the dispute between himself, his captain and senior players including Michael Thwaite, Danny Vukovic and Steve McGarry over his coaching style and team selections.
"I'm in a state of shock," said Sage as the saga which erupted during a dressing room bust-up after Glory's 2-0 loss to Melbourne Victory on Friday night came to a dramatic conclusion.
Burns blew up after being left on the bench for the Victory game after returning from a two-game suspension as a player-led revolt challenged Edwards's authority.
"I had got Jacob to apologise for his outburst at the coach, against his better judgement, and I thought we had a resolution and could move on," Sage continued.
"And, frankly, I couldn't believe it when I then received a message and then a letter from Alistair demanding that Jacob have his contract cancelled, or if not that, have the armband taken off him. Those were his terms.
"The board was not willing to accept that demand. We are not in the business of switching captains mid-season, especially when the two names put forward by Alistair to replace Jacob would not have taken the job because they support Jacob's position at the club.
"We were left with no option as a result of the coach's demands but to terminate his contract and we hope to have an interim coach in place for Sunday's game against Adelaide United. We don't feel his stance left us with any other viable alternative.
"It's a real shame it has come to this because I was confident that the dispute had been settled after a series of meetings with the players and the coach. But Alistair was not willing to compromise when it was him who sanctioned Jacob as captain in the first place when he was appointed as our coach."
Such was the depth of feeling against the coach, it is understood that had Edwards stayed on several senior players would have sought releases from their contracts next month.
Their grievances against Edwards - who took over in February after the sacking of Ian Ferguson - include his man-management style, team selections which have mystified senior players - and perceived favouritism towards sons Ryan and Cameron.
"People have said it's been all about him signing and picking his sons ahead of others but it's also been about how he relates to the players, and yes, the fact that he has consistently used Cameron off the bench ahead of others," Sage said.
"It's also been why certain players have been taken off in matches. There has been significant disharmony there and questions asked."
Edwards' two sons trained with the club on Tuesday, and Glory CEO Jason Brewer hopes they will see out their contracts at the Glory despite the drama of their dad's sacking.
"Ryan and Cameron are fully supported by the club," Brewer said.
"They are young professionals that have come in and are looking to make a career in football. I don't see the awkwardness in that.
"They were treated just as much the same as any other player in that club.
"They were on the training pitch this evening and they'll be there tomorrow.
"And they're certainly in contention to play against Adelaide on Sunday.
"They know how to behave in these situations and they'll continue to compete for spots in the team."
Sage said that he hoped to have "a former Perth assistant coach" at the club in a caretaker role for the clash with Adelaide, with a long-term appointment to be made in the coming weeks or months.
That coach is thought to be Kenny Lowe, a former assistant coach at Glory under Dave Mitchell, and currently in charge of WA National Training Centre.
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