Parramatta legend Brett Kenny says the Kieran Foran saga has damaged the club’s ability to attract star players as the Eels board hit out at what it claimed were attempts to destabilise it.
Foran is preparing to walk away from Parramatta after the club sought to re-work his $4.8 million contract signed three months ago, after the board discovered two clauses which had previously gone unnoticed.
Kenny, a four-time premiership winner who played 265 premiership matches in the blue and gold, said he no longer wanted to have anything to do with his beloved former club and could only laugh from afar as he watched it “go down the drain”.
He criticised the Eels board and administration for attempting to change Foran’s deal, predicting it had damaged its future recruitment plans and chances of landing star signings.
“What would you do if you were a player? You wouldn’t want to go there,” Kenny said.
“You’d be frightened that when you agree to a contract that they are going to turn around at some stage – whether it be change of board or something like that – and look at it and say `this is a ridiculous contract, change it and give him this one’.
“I wouldn’t want to go through that.”
Kenny, who was part of the great Eels sides of the 1980s alongside the likes of Peter Sterling, Eric Grothe Sr and Michael Cronin, said he felt sorry for the fans and that the club needed a clean out at board level.
Foran has expressed his disappointment at the club as rival teams chase his services, should he opt out of the deal.
The Eels are attempting to renegotiate Foran’s deal after it discovered his contract included a get-out clause and a $1 million damages payout.
Foran’s deal was negotiated by former chief executive Scott Seward, who left the club last week, and after the fine print of the contract was examined by Eels management they began attempting to re-work it.
Eels chairman Steve Sharp said the club is still hopeful of having the services of Foran next NRL season and they were working through it with his management.
A group of fans is preparing to hold a rally outside the Parramatta Leagues Club on Friday afternoon under the banner of `Reclaim Our Eels’ to express their displeasure with management.
Fans have taken to social media and internet forums promising to rip up their memberships and boycott the club.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy described the saga as a black eye for rugby league and made the game look like “a bunch of amateurs”.
Sharp says the club has been the victim of unwarranted and vicious attacks and that “self-serving” individuals are seeking to destabilise it.
The club has lurched from crisis to crisis in recent months including being hit with a salary cap breach, the departure of Seward and the Foran contract saga.
Sharp on Thursday hit out at what he called attempts to undermine the board by those who had failed to get elected at May’s club elections.
“We have continued to push forward with a positive agenda. We are disappointed that some self-serving individuals are seeking to destabilise our club through the media during this period,” Sharp said in a statement to fans.
“These unwarranted attacks must cease.”