“I HONESTLY can’t stress how impressive an individual he is. He shares our vision of where we want the club to go”.
Russ Green, chief executive, November, 2012.
“I put every trust in Russ Green to go out and get the players I have recommended. All I’m saying is don’t miss out on them. But hopefully there will be no knee-jerk reaction and we trust each other”.
John Hughes, manager, April, 2013.
“The Club would like to thank John for all his efforts to try and secure League One status since he joined the Club in November 2012. We wish him all the very best for the future”.
Club statement, May, 2013.
That trust, then, had evidently been broken.
And it had been for some time, for yesterday’s sacking of Hughes had, in many quarters, been expected.
The relationship between he and the club had deteriorated beyond repair.
The press had long since been aware of such disharmony, Hughes repeatedly using the media to publicly record his desire for extensive summer recruitment.
It would prompt recruitment all right – and today the search begins for his successor.
But what is so wrong with a manager wishing to cleanse a relegated squad of the muddied members who had caused their demise?
It appears his intention, or the manner he went about conveying it, did not rest easy with the hierarchy.
And there are, as ever, two sides to every tale of torment.
It is understood the club were irked by Hughes’ methods, to the point where his dismissal was their only option entering a future-defining summer.
The club feel they need a new man to lead them in League Two.
Events of the past 12 days pointed to as much.
As recently as the final home match of the season Hughes had devilishly delivered his above words, going as far as to demand arrival of “seven or eight” new players.
To any outside observer this would probably seem fair – manager of relegated side wants to rid club of deadwood and bring in own men.
However, this was no ordinary utterance.
This was a bound boss pleading for freedom.
He wanted, desperately, to stamp his mark on every department of the football club.
And, to be fair, he had said as much from day one.
So, too, had Green – remember those soundings of “shared vision”?
Somewhere, though, those visions veered.
Hughes departed for a summer vacation with his family at the end of the season.
Even that was a point of conflict, reporters informed by the club he had signed off for six weeks.
However, plans were in place to sign him off indefinitely.
That he was never to return probably did not come as a shock to the Edinburgh-born manager.
For he, like many of us, almost certainly knew that his tenure had expired.
It is unfortunate in that, back on that drizzly, November afternoon at Victoria Park, he and Green had, together, put on a United front, one which had excited supporters.
Today, they are very much disunited, Hughes left to reflect on a bold decision to move south which has, ultimately, backfired.
The amiable Scot had talked so often of “making a statement” with his first signing.
Sadly, for him, that signing never came.
And, yesterday, it was the club who made the statement.