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CLIFTONVILLE fans were in shock last night after Liam Beckett resigned as manager of the Solitude club.

Beckett, who only took up the post last summer, dropped the bombshell after an internal row over his pursuit of goalkeeper Robert Robinson.

Beckett parted company with the club by "mutual consent" after some board members queried a transfer that would have placed regular keeper Paul Straney's position under threat.

"I had no other option," said Beckett. "Cliftonville have a weak board and as long as that continues, the Reds will not be as successful as they should be. I have a lot of respect for two board members, including Gerard Lawlor who has been very loyal to me, but I wouldn't stretch it to three.

"I find it very disappointing that the Cliftonville board doesn't have the same ambition as myself and the supporters."

Explaining the reasons for his departure, Beckett said: "I wanted to bring Robinson to the club, but some board members and Paul (Straney) didn't think we needed competition in the goalkeeping department.

"It was also rumoured that I had told Robert Robinson he would be first-choice. I never said that.

"Paul is obviously a long-time favourite at the club and some board members were swayed by that. We have agreed to part company by mutual consent and I am very saddened.

"I loved my 12 months with Cliftonville and enjoyed a fantastic relationship with the fans and the players. I've been inundated with messages from supporters."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 23, 2005
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