Manuel Pascali

Manuel Pascali rips into former Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston after quitting the club


June 2015: The firebrand Italian accused Johnston of creating a “negative” atmosphere at Rugby Park.

Pascali, who has knocked back a new deal on vastly-reduced terms, revealed how the club’s former owner didn’t even come into the dressing room to congratulate them on their League Cup win in 2012.

And the ex-skipper is still also upset by the bonus row that saw the players threaten to go on strike last October over the paltry rewards on offer.

Manuel Pascali leaves Kilmarnock after making over 200 appearances in seven years at the club
The defender is now ready to return to his homeland after seven years at Rugby Park and he isn’t going to miss Johnston, who is still on the board despite being replaced as chairman by Jim Mann in March after striking a deal to wipe out the club’s debt.

Pascali said: “If you ask a lot of ex-Killie players they’ll tell you they’ve not been treated great from different points of view.

“That’s what happened with the bonus row and other things that gave a lot of negativity to the dressing room.

“I wasn’t surprised that we struggled even with the quality we had in the last couple of years. I’m not using it as an excuse but the negativity is not good.

“I’m not sure if the passion is there and the communication with the fans, I don’t see it.

“When we played Ayr in the cup, did the chairman come into the dressing room and show what this game means to the club? No. It never happened.

“It never even happened when we won the League Cup.

“A lot can be said but Killie is still my club and in my heart. Maybe with more passion, they’ll be one of the best in Scotland.”

Pascali was offered a fresh one-year deal by boss Gary Locke, but on less money.

Locke, whose budget has been cut by £500,000, said on Wednesday that Pascali and Alexei Eremenko had just one more week to make up their minds on new contracts.

But the out-of-contract stopper had already made it clear he’d not accept a drastic wage cut and is now looking for a new club.

Pascali wanted to end his career in Ayrshire but said: “I’ve never heard anything more from Killie so that’s the past now.

“I’ve had a couple of offers. There’s been one club from Poland in touch and two or three Italian teams playing in Serie B.

“I can’t say the names but I had a meeting last week with two of them and we’re not far from an agreement.

“I look forward to playing in my home country again or going abroad. I can do well because my legs are still good. Hopefully I’ll soon be starting a new challenge. But I’ll be sad to leave. I’ve played 220 games for the club, I was captain. Last year I played 35 games, so I didn’t expect to leave.

“Maybe Killie didn’t think I was worth more than the offer I was made. Maybe they thought at 33 I was not going to have another season as a main player.

“They’re struggling to sign players and I’m not surprised given their budget. I want the best for Killie but if they don’t sign the right players, it’ll be hard next season.”

 


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