Wilkins breaks silence over Chelsea exit
Ever since departing the club in a blaze of controversy last month the manner of Ray Wilkins' exit has been the subject of much debate.
Told his contract was being terminated on an ordinary midweek day at Cobham, at half time of a specially-arranged reserve team friendly, eyebrows were raised instantaneously. Was it something he'd done or something he'd said? Had he had a bust-up with the manager, the captain, the owner, the chief executive's mistress?
To be honest, no-one really knows the true in's and out's of Butch's exit from SW6, although the man himself has finally broken his silence to put one or two things straight.
'I don't think I fell out with him (Roman Abramovich) at all,' Wilkins said. 'I think if that was the case, then I would have been removed from my position immediately.'
'There wasn't so much a row, there was a discussion. I think everybody was immediately after the game a bit pent up and we'd been knocked out of the Champions League by Inter Milan, who are a very good side and who over two games deservedly beat us.'
'I think we're big enough to come away from that situation but we've moved on from there and we've won the double but obviously the owner felt that there was need of a change, and he made that change.'
So, what precisely was the reason for the former Blues midfield maestro's exit then?
'The reason hasn't been given, so I'm still waiting for that,' he explained. 'But that really isn't a problem as far as I am concerned.'
'We always want to know why, but if it isn't forthcoming we've got to get on with our lives. I've no problems. I was privileged to be part of something that was very special and was a great adventure.'
'It has obviously been a big wrench leaving such an illustrious club and one which has played such a huge role in my playing and coaching career. I have great affection for the club, the staff, the players and its supporters and wish them all the very best for the remainder of this season and the future.'
Wilkins' Chelsea connections span 37 years, since he burst onto the scene as our youngest ever captain in 1975. But is he bitter about his latest Stamford Bridge departure?
'These things happen. You just have to accept it, because nothing should ever surprise you anymore in football.'
Wise words, indeed.