BOSTON – As the Boston Red Sox disintegrated in what would become the worst September collapse in baseball history, some at Fenway Park grew concerned that the pain medication Terry Francona was taking after a half-dozen procedures on his knee was affecting his ability to manage, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

In a 2,500-word, front-page article headlined, “Inside the Collapse,” the newspaper spread the blame: apathetic players eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games; a general manager who squandered a $161 million budget on underperformers; ownership that thought players could be bought off with $300 headphones and a party on John Henry’s 164-foot yacht, “Iroquois.”

But the most salacious revelations involved Francona, who left after the season when his contract options weren’t picked up. Since then, reports have surfaced about the dysfunction in a clubhouse that produced a 7-20 record in September.

According to the Globe, team sources “expressed concern that Francona’s performance may have been affected by the use of pain medication.” The sources weren’t identified, the article said, saying those interviewed feared for their jobs.

The article also said Francona was worried about his son and son-in-law, who are serving in Iraq. At the same time, Francona was living in a hotel, separated from his wife of more than 30 years.

Responding to the allegations that he was “distracted,” Francona said he was dealing with the same problems during the four-month period when the team went 80-41. Francona’s ill health was no secret; he was taken to a hospital with chest pains from Yankee Stadium in 2005 — and he said he was taking medication after multiple knee operations and at least five procedures to drain blood from his knee.

“It makes me angry that people say these things because I busted my (butt) to be the best manager I can be,” Francona told the paper. “I wasn’t terribly successful this year, but I worked harder and spent more time at the park this year than I ever did.”

Francona and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who declined to assign blame, were the only individuals willing to discuss the clubhouse culture on the record. David Ortiz also commented but said, “I don’t feel like talking about it anymore.”

Francona said he confirmed with team Dr. Larry Ronan that he didn’t have a problem with drug abuse.

“I went and saw the proper people and it was not an issue,” Francona said. “It never became an issue, and anybody who knew what was going on knows that.”

If Francona was distracted, he wan’t alone.

A hastily scheduled day-night doubleheader to avoid Hurricane Irene angered players, who complained that management cared more about money from ticket sales than winning.

Sensing the “lingering resentment,” the article said, ownership threw a players-only party on Henry’s yacht and gave each player a pair of expensive headphones.