Leeds United are heading for a legal battle with former assistant manager Nigel Gibbs after the 48-year-old quit Elland Road in protest at his “treatment by the club.”
Gibbs is preparing to sue Leeds for breach of contract and constructive dismissal following his sudden departure from the coaching staff.
The former Watford player - United’s assistant throughout Brian McDermott’s reign as manager - is understood to have left Leeds last Monday after a summer in which he became a peripheral presence at Thorp Arch.
Gibbs remained in employment after McDermott and Leeds parted company on May 30 but his role was largely undefined once David Hockaday took charge of the first team as head coach and named Junior Lewis as his assistant.
Leeds did not take Gibbs on their summer tour of Italy and he spent much of pre-season observing training sessions at Thorp Arch.
He and club owner Massimo Cellino previously discussed the possibility of severing his contract but failed to reach an agreement.
Gibbs declined to comment on the precise circumstances leading up to his departure but in a statement issued to the YEP, he said: “I have terminated my employment with Leeds United in response to the way I have been treated by the club, which amounts to a breach of contract.
“I have put the matter in the hands of my legal advisors and in those circumstances it is inappropriate for me to make any further comment.”
Cellino confirmed that Gibbs had left the club but said the ex-Reading assistant had “wanted a deal” and “asked for too much money.”
“He wanted a deal to close the relationship but he asked for too much money,” Cellino said. “He wanted to go after Brian (McDermott) left.
“He wasn’t working and he didn’t do what we told him to do. He just watched training and when we told him to do something else, he left.
“When the summer started I asked him to help David Hockaday as his assistant, to work with him. He said he didn’t want to work for Hockaday.”
Gibbs and Hockaday were formerly colleagues on the coaching staff at Watford before Gibbs’ controversial exit from Vicarage Road in 2005.
Hockaday remained as a first-team coach under Aidy Boothroyd and Watford won promotion to the Premier League the following season.