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Monday, 31 December, 2001, 18:37 GMT
Knight rescues Oldham
Mike Ford in action for Oldham
Mike Ford took Oldham to last year's NFP Grand Final
Oldham have put Mark Knight in temporary charge of the first team in place of Mike Ford.

The club called on their Alliance coach after Ford quit for a post as defensive co-ordinator with the Irish Rugby Union.

Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton also criticised the IRFU of "tapping up" the club's head coach.

The 36-year-old left with indecent haste only one month into a new three-year contract.

"We were in a position where we could do little to stop him leaving," Hamilton explained.

The chance to work at the highest level was one I couldn't afford to miss
Mike Ford
"The IRFU has given Mike the chance to coach at a high level and he feels that he is unable to turn down the opportunity.

"We were faced with a situation where we had an employee who had been tapped about another job.

"This, as can be seen, has meant that he became unsettled."

However, Hamilton was also quick to pay tribute to his former coach on his own behalf and that of his board.

"We would like to place on record our appreciation for Mike's undoubted professionalism during his time with us.

"We are sure that he will show the same qualities in his new role," Hamilton concluded.

Ford, who has a six month contract with the IRFU, had offered to combine both rules, but Oldham dismissed the suggestion.

"It was a very difficult decision to make and I must stress that it's not about money.

"The chance to work at the highest level was one I couldn't afford to miss."

See also:

31 Dec 01 |  Rugby Union
Ford accepts Irish post
08 Jan 02 |  Rugby League
Turley hat-trick inspires Leigh
23 Dec 01 |  Northern Ireland
Irish union target Hanley
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