Declan Bogue the journalist who helped write Kevin Cassidy’s detailed account of life with Donegal in 2011 has answered claims from Jim McGuinness that the book ‘degraded’ the All-Ireland winning manager.
Following Sunday’s historic All-Ireland win McGuinness told a Croke Park representative to ask for the removal of Bogue from the post-match press conference at Headquarters.
Bogue was the journalist who had helped Cassidy write the book, a book that has irritated McGuinness so much that he saw fit to drop the Gweedore clubman from the panel last year.
McGuinness stood by his views that This Is Our Year had brought shame upon him as a manager and a person and he added those opinions to some effect on Sunday.
“There were a lot of untruths in the book,” said the Donegal manager. “There was a lot of things said about me but I’ve never broken court on it since the whole thing happened. I’ve held my dignity. I’ve let myself be castigated. And I did that because I gave somebody an agreement that I wouldn’t break my court on it.
“There were a lot of things said in the book that were incorrect and untrue, some of it about me personally and about some of my players. The person who wrote that book had no researcher on the book to qualify what was said.
“The other people in the media that wrote fairly vile articles had no researcher to qualify the comments. It was an all-out attack for a couple of months on my character. I know what I’ve done, I know what I’ve coached, I know what I am as a person.
“So I’m not going to let somebody sit in a room and fill their pages tomorrow (Monday) on the back of what we’ve done today when they in their wisdom degraded me as a person and some of my players.
“I’m not a two-faced person, I’m not going to be two-faced here and let somebody have their jam on both sides. It was a very hard period in my life, for my family and everybody else and I still held my dignity.”
Today Bogue has voiced his own opinions on the matter and they shed very little light on the outcome other than enhancing a tit-for-tat tale.
“After Sunday’s final, I took my place in the press conference, just as I had for the quarter-final and semi-final that Donegal were involved in,” Bogue revealed. “It was made known to me that Jim would not talk to reporters while I remained in the room. With their deadlines in mind, I left as discreetly as possible.
“Without the prospect of being challenged, Jim then talked about the book, just as he had at pre-championship chat night in Armagh. After a while, he refused to take questions on the matter.
McGuinness was asked on Sunday why he didn’t challenge Bogue or the findings in the book when it was published, replying: “If I challenged it at the time, it makes the story bigger and the people who’ve read it in the first place have made up their minds about it anyway.
“So why would I go over old ground, creating a bigger story, making it bigger and bigger and bigger and the people who have read it in the first place will have their own view? I’m not going to answer any more about it.
“It’s wrong that people should act in haste and repent at leisure. It’s not hard to get a researcher on a book. That’s the end of it.
Bogue today staunchly responded to McGuinness’ comments that the Ulster-based journalist had no researcher on the book; something, which he said himself, is ridiculous.
“It was stated that I had no researcher on the book, which is an odd concept,” said Bogue. “Taking first-person accounts on a season was the format of the book. To question that is to question the honest of Kevin Cassidy’s version of events.
“As for mention of vile attacks on Jim’s character, I do not believe there is a case, as ‘This Is Our Year’ is nothing short of a eulogy to the management of Donegal in 2011. With absolute certainty, I say that nobody was “degraded” by the book.”
Cassidy has never returned to the Donegal panel since, and doesn’t look likely to either and with such polar opposites emanating from Bogue, McGuinness and Cassidy it is unlikely the truth will ever be satisfied.
“What am I responsible for?” continued Bogue. “I don’t know. Jim has never referenced specifics. It is this crude treatment that should be challenged, as should the precedent of a manager ejecting a reporter from a press conference. Calls for an apology are strange when the author is unaware of where the offence lies.
“I challenge people to read the book. This is not an appeal for sales, but a desire for honesty. Read Jim’s quotes by all means, but then read the book and see if you can reconcile his pain with the content.
“I completely stand over this book and have nothing to apologise for.”