Crawley manager John Yems is aiming to secure another FA Cup scalp when he takes his side to Bournemouth, the club where he says people betrayed him and left him suffering from depression following his acrimonious departure in 2018.
The League Two side delivered the shock of this season’s competition by beating Leeds 3-0 earlier this month to set up a delayed fourth-round trip to Bournemouth.
Although downing Marcelo Bielsa and his Premier League players ranks as the greatest result in Yems’ professional career, being drawn with the Cherries represents a personal mission for the 61-year-old.
Yems joined Bournemouth in 2012 when they were in League One and worked with former manager Eddie Howe and current boss Jason Tindall as the club made a fairytale climb into the top flight.
His time on the south coast came to an end in June 2018, and he feels his exit impacted on his mental health before he was appointed Crawley boss in December 2019.
“It’s a funny thing, depression,” Yems said. “It just creeps up on you, when the phone stops.
“It’s the trust issue, being let down by people that you trust. You can stand many things in this world, but unfortunately you do have to trust people – and when people dump on you from a great height, it’s very hard to take.
“It was betrayal, you go from the first division into the Premier League and then you get made redundant for no reason.
“It goes to show that certain people there are very unscrupulous and very untrustworthy.”.
In response, Bournemouth said in a statement: “We are disappointed to read a further series of misleading and inaccurate comments from our former employee, John Yems, ahead of the club’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against Crawley Town.
“Sadly, these comments have been an all-too-regular occurrence over the past two and a half years since Mr Yems’ departure from AFC Bournemouth.”
Regarding his departure, the Cherries added: “As was made clear at the time, Mr Yems’ fixed-term contract at AFC Bournemouth came to an end in June 2018, and following a thorough review of the role, it was a position which was deemed to not be required.”
Yems says he has no problem with Tindall, who will be in the opposite dugout on Tuesday after Howe left following Bournemouth’s relegation from the Premier League last summer.
His gripes, instead, are with individuals whom he describes as “not football people”.
“It’s a different club to the one I left, it was more enjoyable when I was there and we were building,” said Yems, who has had coaching roles at Fulham and Millwall.
“The Bournemouth I left when Eddie was there – and I’ve spoken to Eddie since – is not the same.
“People running the club are not football people. They were playing off the back of people who have the football success, but money becomes involved and then it’s their success.
“It’s such a shame because it was a friendly football club. It’s nice to go back there, there’ll be a few people glad to see the back of me as I can’t wait to see the back of them.”
Crawley’s preparations have been hit by a Covid-19 outbreak which has ruled five unnamed players out of the trip to the Vitality Stadium.
The Sussex side have not played since beating Leeds on January 10 and the squad only returned to training on Monday.
Yems has held a couple of Zoom fitness classes with his depleted squad and says potential injuries are a genuine concern.
He said: “The uncertainty affects everybody and it’s put a little dampener on it (the Leeds win). You don’t know how people are going to come back from something like that.
“It’s a bump in the road, but we’ve got to overcome and just get on with it.
“No-one gives a chance of winning. They’ve got some big name players, but we’ll turn up and give it the best we can.”
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