By David Richardson
Garry Hill says he has no choice but to defend himself against claims from Chelmsford City chairman Steve Shore on the contract dispute which prevented him from becoming the club’s new manager.
Hill, 60, says he was set to be named as the successor to Rod Stringer at the National League South club earlier this month but the deal stalled over the terms of a two-year contract.
Shore, a self-confessed newcomer to football, revealed in his programme notes for last Monday night’s game with Tonbridge Angels that Hill was “looking for a certain cash sum and a two-year contract”.
According to Shore, the club’s shareholders backed out of the deal after the Clarets chief wanted to arrange the conditions around termination clauses so the club wouldn’t have to pay up the remainder of the 24-month contract should they part company early.
Shore insisted a contract wasn’t needed “if a manager has belief in his abilities” and the club wouldn’t stand in their way should they be approached to move on.
Hill says he discussed terms of the contract with two other board members, including a clause that would see him leave the club should Chelmsford not finish in the top half in his first season. When the two directors were contacted by The NLP neither would divulge the conversations that were had.
Shore – who wasn’t in favour of appointing Hill but was out-voted by the rest of the board – called Hill on Thursday February 13 to offer him the job, which he accepted.
“I asked if he could email over me the salary which had been offered and the two-year contract,” Hill told The NLP this week.
“His words were he wasn’t aware of the two-year contract. I believe he knew full well from the board. I had been talking to Robbie Simpson [Chelmsford caretaker manager] about players, Neil Smith at Bromley, Leon Hunter at Stevenage, Daryl McMahon [at Dagenham].
“It’s embarrassing. If you don’t believe in giving a manger a contract why do you have 15 players on contract at the club? If you can’t put your trust in a manager that has won the Conference South three times, then what are you saying?
“I was meant to take training on Thursday night and a press statement. I had agreed to work with a reduced budget next season cut from £400,000 gross to £320,000 gross.
“They told me the budget had to be reduced before the end of the season and I was going to help them get £2,000 per week off it. I’ve had to defend myself.
“It was a big thing for me to go to Chelmsford, my swansong really. I was going to fetch in businesses because I’m well-known in the area. I’m disappointed. It was a perfect fit, no doubt about that.”
Hill was also furious about the “cash sum” claim which Shore clarified to The NLP was actually a reference to the salary he would receive over the two years and not any sort of upfront payment.
Hill left troubled Ebbsfleet United in October and a return to management is looking unlikely.
“What I’ve experienced over the last 12 months, it is starting to show me more and more that fit and proper people are not running football clubs, and I don’t need the aggravation,” said the former Dagenham, Weymouth, Rushden and Woking manager.
“I have enough going on in my life. I don’t need what I’ve experienced at Ebbsfleet, paying £30,000 wages from my own pocket to players earlier this season.”
Shore told The NLP: “I’m very sorry if Garry felt misled, that was never our intention.
“There’d been mention of contracts, what maybe had been my lack of understanding was there’s a two-year contract with no break clause or termination clause.
“That’s not something I’ve come across in business and wasn’t something I was in a position to agree without reference to the other shareholders which is what I said to Garry.
“I spoke to them and they said they weren’t comfortable with that. We hadn’t even got to the stage where there had been a draft contract written. The job is never got until the ink is signed on the paper.
“Maybe some of this is my naivety. Loads of these things are misunderstandings.”
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