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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 February 2006, 09:19 GMT
Woodward considering legal action
Southampton director of football Sir Clive Woodward
Woodward says he enjoys respect of players
Southampton director of football Sir Clive Woodward is considering legal action against claims he does not have the respect of Saints players.

Allegations concerning Woodward's standing were made by Andrew Strode-Gibbons, head of a consortium eyeing a takeover of the club.

Woodward said: "I have to be careful what I say, it has gone to the lawyers.

"I believe in freedom of speech but not if it's not based on fact, and as far as I could see, that was not."

Woodward initially dismissed the claims, saying: "It's not hard to find players in any dressing-room who aren't happy.

I think I have been in professional sport long enough to take these things with a pinch of salt
Saints director of football Sir Clive Woodward

"I think I have been in professional sport long enough to take these things with a pinch of salt," he had said.

But after reflecting on the allegations made by Strode-Gibbons on BBC Radio Five Live, Woodward said: "That was the first time I have felt real negativity."

Hampshire businessman Strode-Gibbons said Woodward and chairman Rupert Lowe may go if his consortium - one of two interested - clinches a takeover.

Strode-Gibbons added: "If we take over, Rupert Lowe would no longer be at the club and it's unlikely we would want to keep Clive Woodward.

"We don't feel he has anything to offer the club."

Strode-Gibbons claimed his allegations were based on conversations with senior players at the club.

He said: "Many people in this city are fed up with the way the club is being run.

"I have no intention of putting myself forward as chairman or a board member, I want to facilitate the removal of Rupert Lowe."

He said: "We have the money and we're prepared to pay what the club is worth."

Saints recently reported half-yearly losses of 1.4m, although that does not take into account the recent sale of Theo Walcott to Arsenal.

Interview: Businessman Andrew Strode-Gibbons on Sportsweek

Interview: Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe

Interview: Sir Clive Woodward


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