WICK Academy feel that they have been badly let down by manager Davie Kirkwood over his behaviour in his impending move to Brora Rangers as the two sides prepare to meet in the North of Scotland Cup semi-final tonight.
Chairman Colin Stewart said that a lack of respect has been shown to the committee, players and fans of the club in the way he has handled the situation.
Kirkwood, who has been in charge of the Scorries since 2011 is set to move to Dudgeon Park on October 1 after agreeing terms with the Sutherland outfit.
Academy is furious with his actions since applying for the position at Brora, claiming he has twice refused a request to discuss compensation.
Speaking to the Caithness Courier last week, Kirkwood said he had offered to speak to the squad, but had heard nothing from the club.
But Stewart denied the claims saying that at no point has he offered to come along and speak to the players.
"As a club, we believe that we have dealt with this situation in a professional and dignified manner but we are bitterly disappointed by Mr Kirkwood’s handling of it," he said.
"At no point has he offered to come along and speak to the players.
"He initially agreed to attend the Turriff game and speak to the players after the match but changed his mind when he later decided it was unprofessional and unethical.
"He has always maintained that people should be respectful to the club and to himself as manager, but this has not been reciprocated to myself, committee, players and supporters by him."
North football was left rocked when the 45-year-old former Rangers and Ross County coach applied for the manager’s position at Brora two weeks ago, which was vacant when Andy Macleod stepped down after the 3-2 defeat away to Formartine United in the Scottish Cup first round.
Within 24 hours of applying for the job, Brora chairman John Young requested permission from Wick Academy to hold an interview with Mr Kirkwood.
After talks took place, Mr Kirkwood contacted Mr Stewart to say that he would not be on the team bus for Academy’s away trip to Turriff United, instead attending the Brora match at Lossiemouth.
Despite no compensation being agreed between the two clubs, Brora released a statement last Thursday saying that Kirkwood was the new man in charge.
Kirkwood is set to remain as manager of Academy until the end of September but it is unlikely that he will appear in the home dug-out at Harmsworth Park again.
Mr Stewart said that the way the situation has been handled has come as a complete shock to everyone at the club and that he is very disappointed in the way in which both Kirkwood and Brora Rangers have acted.
He regrets that the matter was to be concluded in a sour manner but is also grateful for Kirkwood’s services to the club during his 15 month reign.
"We feel he has not only let himself down but also the club and the players that he has previously stated in the press to be one of the best squads in the Highland League, by not facing them to explain his decision.
"We deeply regret that our time with him has ended in such a manner with almost two full years of his contract still remaining but we respect his decision to leave for Brora Rangers. "
Brora chairman John Young previously said that he contacted Wick Academy for permission before holding any talks with Kirkwood regarding the vacant post, saying that the club had played by the rules.
He also claimed that an offer of compensation was rejected by Wick after they demanded 10 times what Brora were prepared to offer and that the club has since withdrawn any financial sum to compensate for his early departure.