Former Birmingham City goalkeeper Nico Vaesen last night shattered the silence that followed the controversial criticism of the club's players by its owner David Sullivan.
Vaesen, whose five-year stay at St Andrew's ended on Monday when his existing contract expired, believes Sullivan should have aired his grievances directly to the team instead of doing so in a radio interview.
Vaesen's sentiments represent the first time a member of the squad has responded to Sullivan's claims and although he was measured in his opinion, the Belgian was clearly not happy with some of the things the owner said in the wake of the 7-0 FA Cup defeat by Liverpool.
After that match Sullivan expressed his dismay with the attitude of professional footballers and said he felt resentment at the way they were not earning their large wages.
Those comments angered both manager Steve Bruce and his players but although Bruce and skipper Kenny Cunningham touched on the subject, the rest of the squad were banned from talking to the media. Until now.
Vaesen defended his former employer's right to express his frustration but also had words of advice for Sullivan.
"He is the owner of the club so he can say what he wants, whether it's true or not," Vaesen said. "I felt that sometimes he was a bit harsh the way he came out with things.
"Sometimes it pays to be a bit more sensible about things and be better informed if you have criticism that you want to aim at people.
"He is very disappointed - I share those feelings with him - so he has every right to have that criticism, the thing that he owns has just taken a massive blow.
"He has had some personal issues and if he has those he has to say them directly to the player and not through the media or the press."
Vaesen also argued that Birmingham's relegation was not down solely to their much-maligned players and he encouraged supporters to take a more rational view of a disastrous season.
"We all have to look at ourselves and take the blame," he said "But I don't only mean the players, there are a lot more things to take into the equation than just the players on the pitch on a Saturday.
"I don't want to go into specifics but a lot of people have blamed the players but you have to remember they are prepared in a certain way. You have got to look at the whole picture, at what happens in the week and the outside influences that affect a club."
The former Huddersfield Town keeper also suggested Birmingham need to make big changes if they are to bounce straight back into the Premiership but he is adamant that Bruce remains the best man to achieve that.
"I have spent 75 per cent of my time in England with Steve Bruce as a manager - I have a lot of respect for the man," he said. "He is capable of getting them back up but the gaffer knows more than anyone else that certain issues have to be addressed.
"It is not going to be an easy job because of lot of players will leave the club, there is going to be a massive rebuild and I don't know what the budget will be.
"There are a lot of players going and not just squad players either, big ones. A lot of players have to be brought in because it is a tough division to get out of, especially with all the local derbies coming up. It's going to be a big job."
One man who won't be around to help is Cunningham who yesterday became the eighth player to be released.
Bruce had intimated that his skipper might be given another contract but it is clear financial considerations have prevented him from keeping any of the players whose existing deals had come to an end. That means the ex-Republic of Ireland stalwart will leave after four years with Birmingham and he goes with some measure of regret on Bruce's part.
"It's always hard when you have to say goodbye to such great servants," Bruce said.
"But, unfortunately, tough decisions have to be made when you find yourselves in the situation we are in."
On a positive note, Blues were yesterday linked with a £3 million move for Cardiff City's striker Cameron Jerome.