The war of words between Phil Gould and Ricky Stuart seems to be just as interesting as the footy at the moment, with Gus firing back with some classic commentary after Stuart took the bait earlier in the week.
Gould’s column today quickly became one of the most read at the Sydney Morning Herald, with Gould opening the article with a firm salvo fired at Stuart –
“To be honest Ricky, you are the most pig-headed and ungrateful person I’ve met in football. I discontinued my association with you four years ago because I could no longer tolerate your petulance.” said Gould.
Bang. It’s game on.
Love him or hate him, Phil Gould is a straight shooter. In a day and age where most things are politically correct, watered down and sheltered – Gould tells it how it is. Thats always going to put some people off-side, but not only does Gould have an astute Rugby League brain – boy can he write an article. If there was a Grand Final for the most hard-hitting, witty and insightful Rugby League writing – then it’s gotta be Phil Gould and Paul Kent battling it out.
This was classic Gould, going after Stuart full-bore and giving everyone a little bit more insight into the battle at Bondi between the 2 of them a few years back.
“As for your childish comments I somehow cost you your position at the Roosters 18 months later, perhaps my lawyers should ask you to explain that rubbish in court. People are sick of your continually trying to rewrite history. These feeble attempts to erase the real factors behind your sacking and blame others for your demise are embarrassing.” said Gould.
It seems everyone is going legal in the Rugby League world, Gould threatening Stuart with his legal team, apparently Denis Fitzgerald also looking to do the same for Phil Rothfield over the Daily Telegraph – it’s all out war and this is off the field!
Gould goes on to discuss Ricky’s appointment at the Sharks, commenting on the fact that Stuart Raper was pushed aside to make way for Stuart;
“Stuart Raper must be scratching his head at why he was removed to make way for you, given your current position on the premiership ladder. Do you ever spare a thought for him?
It’s time you stop this ridiculous charade of being hard done by.” questioned Gould.
Gould then goes out to point out that Chris Anderson had a major task in trying to clean up the mess left at Bondi; the job eventually costing Anderson his health and coaching job;
“Roosters management did you a favour terminating your contract. It provided you with a perfect opportunity to start afresh at another club and save your reputation. Meanwhile, your replacement, Chris Anderson, had to come in and try to mop up the mess you left behind. Sadly, the enormity of the task cost him his health and his job.”
Gould finishes with talk of the Daily Telegraph approaching him for comment on Stuarts future. This must be the most concerning part for the current Cronulla coach. Forget the war of words for now, sure it makes interesting reading as the two go hammer and tong – but ultimately the pressure is starting to build around Ricky Stuart.
The Sharks have had well documented financial troubles in recent times, their recruitment has been highly questionable, their attendance numbers and very worrying and there has been street corner talk of them being possible relocation candidates.
The team isn’t winning football games, they have problems with injuries sure, but the buck must stop with the coach and for Stuart, if he can’t pull a rabbit out of the hat soon – things are only going to get worse.
He might be wise to resist a return serve to Gould, as every article and sensational headline draws more attention to Stuart and his role at the Sharks. In this case the Cronulla coach has much, much more to lose than just the war of words.