Gearing out and Smith in at Herne Bay
Gearing out and Smith in at Herne Bay

Without even taking a training session or indeed a fixture of any kind Nick Gearing has announced today that he has left his position as manager of Herne Bay football club.

The club have then announced this afternoon that former Canterbury City manager Ben Smith will be taking up the management position assisted by Tim Dixon and Ben Bay. Smith was sacked by City in April and returns to football within a month.

This all comes just a day after Herne Bay appointed Stuart Fitchie, Martyn Sexton and Alan Birchard to the board, meaning that it is all change at Winch’s Field.

Gearing was understandably disappointed not to be given the opportunity to manage the team that he had started to shape for the 2019/20 season.

In a statement he said: “In a strange turn of events, I can now say that I am no longer the Herne Bay FC manager without having held a training session or played a game. The club has been taken over by a new consortium who are apparently bringing in their own coaching staff.

“I am extremely disappointed not to even speak to the new consortium before they made their management team decision and I think it epitomises this ‘job for your mates’ culture that exists at this level and some would argue, stops the level moving forward and becoming more professional.

“I don’t know who the new manager it but I’m disappointed that they went behind our backs and have been planning to take over what was my team, which I believe lacks class on their part. This comes as such a shock, especially as I wanted to make a point of being honest with people as I have said since my original statement to join the club, but sadly there is a lot of dishonesty in this situation.

“I offered Allan Birchard a very good role within our first team which was declined but last night I found out that he has become a director of the club and in fact been part of the group deciding to replace me as manager with somebody else.

“I know for sure that my experience would have been invaluable to professionalise a club that clearly needs it in every department, from what happens on the pitch to the social media and fan engagement which has not fulfilled its potential. At the committee meeting I went to a few weeks ago, most saw the state of the club, but I saw a lot of opportunity, which again I believe shows the potential improvement that I could have made.

“Along with Chris Woollcott and Nicky Lewis, we have managed to cut last season’s playing budget in half and bring in players that were better than the previous squad and, along with our playing style, I firmly believe would have been capable of reaching the play-offs. These players include some of the current best in the league and an ex-pro, but again this is something Herne Bay FC may miss out on having not even re-interviewed me for the role. Having said this, the new manager will by all accounts have a pot of money to spend, something that we were not offered.

“For me now, I feel like I am done with football due to the dishonesty and ‘jobs for the mates’ culture. I’m in a position in which last season I turned down and opportunity to work in League One and so football has become less of a priority. The only roles I will be interested in are first team manager roles with a chairman and committee that have ambition and most importantly, are good people.

“I would like to thank John Bathurst for appointing me originally and completely understand that this is beyond his control. I would also like to wish the supporters every success in the future as you were a group of people I was determined to bring that success to.”