But it was his post-match antics following last Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat by Harrogate that proved the final straw for owner Dale Vince. Deeney launched a savage attack on his own players – labelling them “babies” – and also singled out on-loan right-back Fankaty Dabo for severe criticism.
Deeney was serving as player-coach of the club when he was appointed as manager on December 20, in place of the departed David Horseman. And now he’s cast doubt on any theories that his sacking was due to poor form.
“They told me it was because of results but I have trouble believing that,” he told reporters. “I feel to a certain extent I have been used for my contacts and pulling power.
“We had brought in five players in this window, most of whom would not have dropped down to the bottom of League Two if it wasn’t for me — including Maxi Oyedele, on loan from Manchester United. Four weeks ago, I was the solution. Now I’m told I’m the problem.”
Forest Green currently lie rock-bottom of League Two and are seven points adrift from safety. And with back-to-back relegations seemingly staring the squad in the face, Deeney also defended his hardline approach and argued the club were fully aware of the “type of character” they were appointing.
“When you’re taking over a club in the middle of a season and it is rock bottom of the league you can’t take your time and go easy,” he continued. “Hard words needed to be spoken and I felt that we were about to turn a corner with results.”
In a clear dig at Vince, who on Friday appeared on talkSPORT in a bid to justify his decision, Deeney also referenced the fact the club were now set to appoint a ninth manager in just three years. And he also accused his bosses of leaving him humiliated by summoning him on Thursday evening while he was having dinner with his coaching staff.
“I wanted to get the staff together and it had been an enjoyable meal, everyone was in good spirits and then I got the call,” he said. “I just felt embarrassed when I left the restaurant.”