by David Jones
People whose lives appear to revolve around a football team can be rather tiresome at times. You know the sort – they never stop talking about Spurs, Manchester United, Chelsea etc etc. Get a life, I say.
I’ve never been that interested in football. I didn’t even know which teams were in the FA Cup final. This day of days in the footballing calendar is usually my excuse to mow the lawn, only this year I couldn’t because it was waterlogged.
This does not mean, however, that I have no interest in the fortunes of Gillingham FC, not least because a successful football club has all sorts of positive spin-offs for a local newspaper.
Even I know that Andy Hessenthaler is no longer the Gills’ manager following the club’s failure to gain promotion or even make the League Two play-offs in two successive years.
One thing struck me in all the coverage of Hess’s downfall –the marked absence of the “S word.”
I thought football managers who are shown the door by the club chairman had been sacked.
But not Hess, apparently. He was asked “to step down,” had his “contract terminated” or even “relieved of his management duties.” But not sacked.
In all the coverage, the only reference I could find to “sacked”came from chairman Paul Scally himself but even then only in general terms.
“Sacked” is a harsh word and in many walks of life people go to great lengths to avoid using it. But rarely in the world of football. So it appears the affable Hess is being treated as a special case by all concerned.
Clearly, it was a tough decision for chairman Paul Scally to end Hessenthaler’s managerial reign, or whichever euphemism you care to choose.
The proof of his admiration for the man is evidenced by the fact that he has offered him another role overseeing everything connected with football at Priestfield – except being the manager, that is.
Playing second fiddle to a new manager will be hard for Hess, but nevertheless he has decided to accept the new job.
Maybe Mr Hessenthaler was just too nice an individual be “sacked,” so everyone has gone to great lengths to find alternative words.
But then what do I know about football?