We have amateur people in a professional field

Last updated : 22 December 2002 By Tony Scholes

The game and result left one manager happy and one not so happy but both agreed on the performance of the referee Grant Hegley. Gillingham have apparently been playing much better away from home than in home games but manager Andy Hessenthaler was pleased to finally see his side play well in front of the home crowd.

After the game he said, "It was the best home performance of the season. We’ve played well away from home a few times so it’s good to finally do it at home. That’s three on the spin that we have won now but we won’t be getting carried away. We know what it’s like and things can change very quickly. It was only a few weeks ago that people were moaning about us. But we have moved up to tenth in the table and will now look forward to Millwall on Thursday."

He had some sympathy for Burnley with one of the red cards but not with the first, "Paul Shaw was clean through and the lad has handles it. The letter of the law says he as got to go. I think that one was definitely a sending off.

"The second one though I am not so sure about. I don’t think he should have been sent off and it makes the game look worse than it was now. People will see two sent off and think it was a dirty game, but it wasn’t.

"So if I was Stan Ternent I would be aggrieved with the second one but we go away from home sometimes and things don’t go for you.

"I think if you were to ask Stan though he would tell you that the better side won. Stan will get it right though because he is a top manager as far as I am concerned. He’s a nice man and very experienced and I’m sure they will bounce back from these recent bad results."

Stan wasn’t particularly happy with some aspects of the performance but had harsh words for referee Grant Hegley. "It was a bad afternoon for us," Stan said. "I thought their first goal was offside but the two on the stroke of half time were poor goals to concede. It was sloppy defending for both of them.

"I thought we made a decent fist of it in the second half but the next goal was always going to be important and they got it. We did pull one back but just at the moment we have two, three or four players who aren’t playing as well as they can do.

"You are flying one minute but the next it’s a struggle but the problem I have is that there is no competition for places. That’s the same for most sides though and it is no good crying over spilt milk."

And then he spoke about the referee and said, "I wanted to know why he had sent off Gareth Taylor and Dean West’s red card really beggars belief. The ball was hit at him from a yard away and he sends him off.

"He said Gareth had head butted Paul Smith but I’ve spoken to Andy Hessenthaler and Smith and they both say he never touched him and so does Gareth. But I’ve no doubt he will change that in his report if he is wrong but I will be appealing against them both.

"We have amateur people in a professional field and with all due respect I’m not the first person to say it and I won’t be the last. People pay good money to watch football and it is destroyed by poor refereeing standards. It is just criminal in my book."

Examining his depleted squad with three further suspensions now hanging over them he spoke about the situation regarding bringing in reinforcements and admitted that he had not spoken with the Chairman for some weeks.

"We will battle on but without being able to strengthen the squad it will be a long, hard winter. It is plainly obvious that we are thin on the ground.

"When supporters travel 300 miles and more and give up their last Saturday before Christmas we have to sit down and decide whether we can afford wages for loan players or not.

"Everyone can see that the players need a little help, that’s certainly what I think. If we can’t do it in light of what’s happened then it is understandable but if we can then it is time we moved and did it.

"If we don’t strengthen the squad and get some results then the gates will drop off and we need to make a decision. And the first people who should know about it are the supporters of Burnley Football Club."