Haverhill Rovers issue statement concerning sacking of Michael Shinn

Michael Shinn, left.
Michael Shinn, left.

Haverhill Rovers have issued a statement in relation to Tuesday’s dismissal of first team manager Michael Shinn.

Shinn was sacked after 17 months in charge of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division team.

The statement from the club’s committee, in full, says:

“The club would like to begin by clarifying that Michael’s dismissal was nothing to do with on field activities as the club have been more than satisfied with what Michael has bought to the club which includes a very good team spirit and support from the local community.

“The events that led to Tuesday’s decision started at the club on Saturday the 30th of January during and after the Haverhill Borough game against Diss Town where the first team behaviour was deemed to be unacceptable this included loud and abusive behaviour by an intoxicated team who were chanting songs that contained foul, abusive and offensive language that caused offence to members of other clubs, volunteers and independent members of the public.

“This later resulted in comments being posted on the Haverhill UK website forum and other social media pages about the poor behaviour of Haverhill Rovers club players.

“This behaviour took place between 4.30-7pm where the facility is accessible to all ages and there were children in the building who witnessed the behaviour and heard the chanting from our role models within the football club which included a selection of players but more seriously the manager who ultimately is responsible for his group of players.

“This behaviour contained foul, abusive and offensive language which is unacceptable for one who is heading up a community football club.

“The club had received other serious accusations that have been dealt by the club internally to protect the reputation of the individuals involved the club has shown great support to one of these individuals due to the mitigating circumstances that he has produced as well as this he has taken full responsibility of his actions and apologised for his behaviour and to this day still remains loyal and with the football club.

“We as a club expect our manager to show good leadership both on and off the pitch but on this day it was clear that this was not the case so the club had to take action firstly to satisfy the accusations made to the club and secondly to ensure the behaviour would not happen again in the future.

“There were also accusations that the first team manager was intoxicated walking around the function hall spraying Haverhill Borough players with cleaning fluid as well as using offensive terms in their direction, he was also accused of the misuse of social media.

“This, as well as what had occurred earlier on in the day time, along with the offensive chanting was investigated and upon investigations these allegations were proven.

“After a hearing between the manager and the committee it was felt the manager had shown little remorse over the behaviour on that day especially as no public apology had been made despite having numerous opportunities to do so.

“This lack of an apology and remorse following his use of social media where he offended a volunteer of another club who is a head teacher of a local primary school as a profession was a large concern.

“This came after Michael had already received a written warning last season by the club for causing offence to others on social media. “At this point even still the club felt because of his positive performances on the field they would try to support Michael and his behavioural issues by issuing a final written warning with conditions.

“These conditions included two letters of apology to those that had been offended on the day as they hadn’t occurred before hand when Michael had ownership to do so and take responsibility.

“Also within these conditions the club gave the manager five days to submit the apology letters for approval and a reminder was sent near the deadline but finally when the club received these letters it was felt that one of the letters was not deemed an apology.

“This was confirmed via consultation with a third party independent professional body away from the town, so the club requested an amended version that even today has still not been received.

“The club felt the conditions outlined were more than reasonable and would like to clarify that the Haverhill Echo have today misquoted one of the conditions around Michael completing a level 2 FA qualification, as the true condition stated he had to be booked onto a course by the end of February and complete the course by the end of 2016.

“This condition was put in place after numerous failed attempts for Michael to attend coaching courses and internal club support days this was something Michael had failed to do within the time he was first team manager.

“The club as an FA community club must have every coach qualified to a certain standard and unfortunately Michael was the only manager within the football club who had no qualifications or at least be seen to working towards them and had failed to attend any courses or events that the club or county FA had put in place at the facility.

“Last Friday it became clear the manager had shared his conditions with the players through his captain and he had indicated to them that he was not happy with them.

The club then received a letter from the players accusing the club of not consulting the whole committee over the conditions and accusations were made that individuals had made the decision on their own and the players were considering taken action and requested a meeting with the committee.

“This meeting took place on Monday evening with three players and members of the committee where email evidence was offered to show the decision had in fact been made by the whole committee the players seemed satisfied with the process followed.

“It was felt after the meeting the manager had undermined the committee and had tried to turn players against individuals on the committee who work hard behind the scenes to provide him with the resources to run his team.

“This along with failing to fulfil the conditions of the final warning it was felt he no longer demonstrated a good working relationship with those who work for him on the committee.

“The club were fully aware this decision would cause confusion and anger amongst a section of the local community and Michael friendship circles but we feel we really exhausted every avenue to ensure the appropriate measures were put in place to protect the future conduct of those in the club.

“The clubs committee feel the manager has not taken responsibility for the behaviour and complaints received by the club so the club cannot be certain that a repeat of this behaviour will not occur somewhere in the future.

“It was felt as an FA community club we could not continue with this working relationship as its important the manager and committee are aligned for the success of the club both on and off the pitch.

“The club acknowledges the criticism it has received in the wake of the decision and apologises for the delay in a statement however this was due to the club seeking legal advice following the public social media outbursts that have included inaccurate, contagious and slanderous comments aimed to the club and some of its members.

“The club would also like to add that some of the players have come to the club in confidence as they believed the football club was bigger than any one individual and they felt that talks of striking, refusing to play and other such behaviours was going against the hard work of the committee which is unacceptable for the football clubs members, supporters and sponsors.

“We would like to thank other step 4, 5 and 6 clubs for their support during this process as they have understood the position the club has been put into and they understand we were not asked to be put into this position but have had to deal with it, your kind words and offers of support have been duly noted and these are reassuring at what has been a difficult time for the club.

“We do of course wish Michael all the best of luck for the future and we appreciate the positive work he has done with the group, we sincerely hope he can learn from this messy affair and become a better al-round manager both on and off the pitch once his playing career draws to a close.

“Lastly the club would like to reassure the supporters that despite being thrown into a horrendous position over the last two weeks the club needs to re-build and move on and work is already under way with this, we can only thank you all for your support.”