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Harris – management has changed
Harris – management has changed

When new Gillingham Head of Recruitment Andy Hessenthaler told KSN that the Football Manager’s job has changed beyond recognition and is now very much a “young man’s game,” we sought the young man’s view by talking to boss Neil Harris.

When we spoke with Hessie recently, he admitted, “my role is just now to support Neil along with Kenny (Jackett), who’s had the opportunities to go and be a manager again, but he feels that this is the time for him to move into another role for his future.”

“We don’t get any younger – he’s sixty and I’m fifty-seven – it’s a young man’s game now management I think, so we’re the older ones to support Neil and we all want to get this team up the table – it’s exciting times, nervous times but everyone must stay positive!”

In light of these comments KSN has been talking to the Gills boss about how football management has changed and in a very frank discussion, he didn’t hold back with his response and opinions…

We asked Harris if management has changed since his playing days, he was categoric in his response, “Yes,” he said, “but if I can slightly change the question – has management changed today from when I started eight years ago?”

“I can even say that twelve months on from me coming here the landscape has changed hugely in football! Eight years on it is a different industry, it’s a different game!”

“It is so different. I’ve been through a hell of a lot as a manager and I’ve learned so much. I’m learning every day and made mistakes, of course you do.”

“I’ve made mistakes this year which people have pointed out but I accept that and that is one of the biggest differences – social media!”

“The fact is that social media runs the football industry and anyone who tells you different is wrong!”

“Social media and the media run the football industry and that’s what’s changed in my eight years as a manager.”

“People and society have changed, kids are brought up differently and schooled differently. Everyone wants to run before they can walk – there’s no patience in the world anymore.”

“COVID has also changed the football industry and it is completely different. Do I enjoy it? Of course, I do but it has completely changed.”

“I think that Kenny and Andy would be better judges than me as they’ve both managed a lot longer than me to what it was like fifteen years ago or so, but I think that there are completely different challenges.”

“Ownership is completely different – there’s not a lot of clubs that are going to have a Brad Galinson at Gillingham or a John Beresford at Millwall,” and the Gills boss then added, “there simply aren’t as there’s not many of them around anymore and that’s definitely not for the better of the game!”