North’s relationship with Gaffney goes south
George North had a funny old relationship with Saints fans in the final months of his time in Northampton. He was struggling with injury and failing to match the form that made fans love him from the get go, but by the November of 2017, North decided to return home to Wales. However, interim boss Alan Gaffney took a bit of a disliking to him in March the following year when North skipped a training session ahead of their Premiership clash with Sale Sharks.
Where was George North today?— BBC Northampton (@BBCNorthampton) March 3, 2018
Alan Gaffney: ”You’d better ask George that. We picked a side who actually wanted to be out on the pitch and the best side for the game.”
Saints eventually lost the game which was heavily marred by the poor weather conditions and the news surrounding North at the time after the club had internally dismissed the winger for failing to attend training. The decision was made that North would see out the rest of the season at Saints, and he would leave for Ospreys in the summer, but Gaffney wasn’t quite finished there with the incident. In an interview where North was heavily mentioned, Gaffney lashed out at North and questioned his commitment to the club, saying ”We picked the side that actually wanted to be out on the pitch and the best side for Northampton. I haven’t spoken to George personally about it, but I’m just disappointed he wasn’t here.”
No one wants to leave a club on bad terms, but Saints were enduring a torrid time in the Premiership. They had crashed out of the Champions Cup, suffered multiple heavy defeats to Saracens, and now were having internal disputes with a star player in their squad.
Things have changed now however, with Saints making themselves contenders for back-to-back play-offs under new coach Chris Boyd. North meanwhile continues to feature for Wales and is thundering towards his century of caps; a decent effort if you ask me.