The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier
Published 12th September 2012
......First Division North club Lancaster City.
The 56-year-old non-League stalwart was removed from his post at Giant Axe after a phone call from the club’s chief executive Mick Hoyle last Thursday.
It is believed the decision to sack Hesketh was made at a board meeting the day before.
The news leaked out to supporters, which led to an outcry on the fans’ forum of the club’s website.
Hesketh said: “The bottom line is there is no reason behind my sacking.
“I don’t think I have done anything that deserves a dismissal. Mick Hoyle asked me if we can do it all amicably, but I refused to do that.
“I told him it’s not amicable. I said if you want to sack me, then sack me.
“Mick said they wanted to take the club in a different direction but by the looks of how they have started the season, it’s the wrong direction.”
Hesketh asked Hoyle to reconsider his decision after supporters demanded his reinstatement last week.
His removal is all the more puzzling as he had been on a three-month period of leave from his position after undergoing hip-replacement surgery in July.
He has played no role in Lancaster’s season so far, which has seen them yet to register a league win.
Hoyle, assisted by player-coach Michael Stringfellow, took control of first-team affairs in Hesketh’s enforced absence, originally on a caretaker basis.
And Hoyle indicated during pre-season that he was only keeping the hot-seat warm while Hesketh returned to full fitness.
However, a statement, which appeared on the club’s website on Monday, said that during Hesketh’s enforced absence, City’s squad structure and playing policy had changed in a way that was more beneficial to the longer-term future of the club, and which differed to Hesketh’s way of thinking.
Hesketh arrived at Giant Axe in 2009 in what was his second spell as the Dolly Blues manager.
His first season was nearly crowned by promotion, but they agonisingly lost out 1-0 in the play-off final to Colwyn Bay – a team they finished twenty-one points ahead of during the regular season.
Last season, the club narrowly missed out on a play-off place, while they have also been successful in various cup competitions.
Hesketh, together with his assistant Phil Brown, also cultivated a link with renowned sports college Myerscough – and City have had the pick of the college’s outstanding young talent.
“The club was moving in the right direction,” Hesketh said.
“We were the envy of the non-league world because of the system we had in place.
“It’s the supporters I feel sorry for – it’s their club
“They have been wonderful and it’s been quite touching reading some of the messages they have posted on the website.
“Managers come and go, but the club will be there forever.
“I am proud of what I have achieved as manager – I should still be in charge.”
Hesketh revealed he is back on the road to recovery after his major surgery and is looking forward to getting back involved in football as soon as possible.
He added: “I’m fit and raring to go. I still feel like I’ve got a lot of years left in me.
“I feel like I’m coming into my prime as a manager.
“It’s the first time in thirty years that I have been sacked, which is extremely disappointing. But I will be back.”