Small slams Whitehill Welfare decision to sack him

Gary Small sacked after 6-0 defeat to Kelty Hearts, (archive pic: Ian Georgeson)
Gary Small sacked after 6-0 defeat to Kelty Hearts, (archive pic: Ian Georgeson)

Sacked Whitehill Welfare boss Gary Small says he deserved more time to turn things around at the club.

Small, who joined Whitehill last summer, was relieved of his duties after last Wednesday’s 6-0 defeat to Kelty Hearts in only their second game of the season in the Lowland League.

Whitehill were on a poor run towards the end of last season but the 34-year-old said he was told he would be judged on this campaign.

And the decision to sack him now has left a bitter taste.

He told the Advertiser: “I was surprised as anybody. It is a scandal. For all the years I have been involved in football, I have never been treated like this.

“I’ve heard the horror stories of the treatment of managers at this club before but I genuinely thought it was going to be different.

“I joined them last year when they had no players signed up and they were struggling financially. The objective was to stay in the league and we were only six points off the previous season’s total.

“It was made clear to me that I would be judged on this season. We had a poor run towards the end of last season but that was due to games being called off, so we ended up facing the top sides at the end.

“The financial gulf with clubs like East Kilbride, Kelty and East Stirlingshire is huge – we can’t compete with them financially.

“I felt it was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to sack me after two games.”

Whitehill, who have appointed Jock Landells as caretaker, conceded 10 goals in those two matches after defeats to Kelty and Edusport. But Small was confident he could turn it around.

He said: “We were a bit poor defensively to start with but I had plans to address that. Surely I deserved the opportunity to put that right? I’m not feeling bitter or hard done by, as if I was a failure.

“I felt the club was going in the right direction. If I thought I wasn’t doing a good job, I would have put my hands up. How can they justify sacking someone after two games?

“What a lot of people don’t realise is we were missing six players against Kelty either through work, holidays or injuries. Jack Wright, our top scorer, was missing. It was always going to be a hard start. You look at other teams who have lost their first few games, like Gala Fairydean Rovers.

“Stirling Uni lost 6-0 to East Stirlingshire and their manager is still in charge. It’s just a farce, to be honest. I hope I will never be in this situation again.”

Small added: “I enjoyed my time at the club. There are good people there and it would be wrong for me to say there wasn’t.

“The club chaplain has been excellent. The amount of support I’ve had, I will take comfort from, but I feel a bit betrayed.”

A statement from the club said: “We can confirm that manager Gary Small has left the club following a decision to terminate his contract.

“We thank Gary for his time and hard work at Whitehill Welfare and wish him all the very best in the future.”