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Saturday, February 14, 1998 Published at 13:37 GMT

Sport: Football

Chelsea deny Gullit 'hidden agenda'
image: [ Ruud Gullit:
Ruud Gullit: "I want to know the real reason. Money is not the reason why my contract has not been renewed."

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Chelsea's chief executive Colin Hutchinson has hit back after the club's former manager Ruud Gullit claimed there was a "hidden agenda" behind his sacking.

At a press conference on Friday Gullit said the club had not offered to renew his contract and would not negotiate over how much he should be paid.

Ruud Gullit: "Money is not the reason. I'm upset and disappointed." (0'44")
"I asked for the same amount I asked for when Chelsea signed me as a player. At that time they said 'no we can't pay you that, but we will pay you this' and that was what I was expecting this time," he said.

"But it didn't happen. I have never been paid as a manager for Chelsea, only a player. There was no negotiation.

"What is the reason why you [Chelsea] didn't go on with me?" he asked. "I would like to have an answer. Why did it happen? Because the money is not the real reason."

[ image: Colin Hutchinson: understands Gullit's
Colin Hutchinson: understands Gullit's "hurt and anger"
But Mr Hutchinson, speaking on BBC's Grandstand, insisted there was no "hidden agenda" and said Gullit's statements at the press conference had been a bit "crafty".

He said the club was being unbalanced by the uncertainty over Gullit's future and insisted the Dutchman had been made an offer: £1m a year gross.

Chelsea chief executive Colin Hutchinson interviewed by Gary Lineker (4' 33")
Gullit was sacked on Thursday afternoon with the Italian striker Gianluca Vialli, the man he brought to Chelsea from Juventus, taking over as player-manager.

It is understood that Gullit wanted a £2m, two-year deal as player-manager, while Chelsea were prepared to offer him a less lucrative management-only contract.

"If I want to stop playing football, then I will decide," he said. "They knew it would disappoint me to tell me that they didn't want me to play anymore, but they didn't even get that far.

[ image: Gullit arrives at the press conference]
Gullit arrives at the press conference
"I'm very upset. I only heard that I was sacked through the press. I think that I gave this club a lot and I will go out with my head held high," he said.

The dismissal has stunned Chelsea fans who regard Gullit as the man who turned the club into one of the Premiership's most formidable sides.

Gullit was signed as a Chelsea player by Glenn Hoddle and became player-manager in 1996 on Hoddle's appointment as England boss.

He led the team to victory in last year's FA Cup and turned them into challengers for this year's Premiership title, Coca-Cola Cup and European Cup-Winners' Cup.

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Relevant Stories

13 Feb 98†|†Sport
Gullit counts the cost of falling off merry-go-round

13 Feb 98†|†Sport
Sacked Gullit hits back

12 Feb 98†|†Sport
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12 Feb 98†|†Sport
Dutch master's departure out of the blue

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