Ayre slams Whelan antics

Martinez was never offered the job, says Liverpool chief

Dave Whelan has been accused of creating a sideshow during Liverpool's manager hunt

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Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has branded Wigan chairman Dave Whelan a 'comedian' for his actions during the Reds' manager hunt.

Whelan gave regular updates to the media during the period in which the Latics' manager Roberto Martinez was approached and subsequently interviewed for the vacant Liverpool job.

The 75-year-old even suggested Martinez had been offered the job before the role of Kenny Dalglish's successor eventually went to Swansea's Brendan Rodgers.

"I always thought John Bishop was the biggest comedian in the north west but Dave Whelan seems to have taken that mantle over the last couple of weeks."

Ian Ayre

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And Ayre was unable to hide his frustration regarding the manner in which Whelan briefed the press during negotiations.

"Our aim from the outset was to conduct a proper, thorough, search and do it in the proper manner," Ayre told the Liverpool Echo.

"From our point of view, we did all the right things. We approached the clubs we needed to approach, and conducted ourselves properly at all times.

"It is disappointing, then, that Dave Whelan felt the need to run the kind of sideshow he conducted via Sky Sports News and various other media outlets.

"To be honest, I always thought John Bishop was the biggest comedian in the North West but Dave Whelan seems to have taken that mantle over the last couple of weeks."

No secret

Asked if it was true that Martinez was offered the job as Whelan claimed, Ayre said: "That is patently not true.

"We make no secret of the fact we spoke with Roberto Martinez, but that is all we did.

"He is a great guy, and I can't speak highly enough of his professionalism and conduct.

"But for his chairman to make suggestions like he has, and suggestions that just aren't true, well it is disappointing to say the least.

"We can say with absolute certainty that the only person who was made any offer by Liverpool Football Club is Brendan Rodgers."