Bully boy tactics?
Ideas above his station?
Misuse of a privileged position?
Or the understandable frustration of a lifelong fan?
Normally genial Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling parked the bantz this weekend in a furious demand that Hartlepool United’s manager step down.
Under Dave Jones’ management, Stelling’s beloved club have slipped into the League 2 relegation zone and could drop out of the FootbalL League next weekend if they lose at Cheltenham and Newport win at Carlisle.
And Stelling made use of his Sky Sports platform to urge – putting it mildly – that Jones resign as a matter of some urgency.
“We have lost at home, we’re in the relegation places, and it’s not personal Dave, but for God’s sake, for the good of the club, walk now.
“Go now. You’ve got 13 points from 51, this is not your level of football.
“Pam Duxbury (club director), chairman Gary Coxall, if he won’t walk, then sack him.
“If it means me resigning as president then I do so happily – do it now, do it today.”
Stelling is honorary president of the club and is clearly an influential figure round the place.
And sure enough, less than 48 hours later Jones was gone, the club confirming he had departed via our old friend “mutual consent”.
But not before having a dig back at Stelling, telling the Hartlepool Mail:
“It’s okay Jeff Stelling saying it in his comfy chair. He doesn’t know.
“It’s a lack of respect for me. Why should he say that?
“But I’m not listening to people like that, sitting there and judging people. He’s not aware of what’s going on.
“I never criticise him when he makes a mistake or whatever.
“He’s such a big hero, but I’ll go up against him.
“Does he say it about anyone else? (Arsene) Wenger? It’s not his job, his job is to report.”
“I’m fighting for my life, how about a bit of support Jeff, rather than the rubbish you are giving out?”
Jones took over as Hartlepool manager in January.
In 2014, Stelling lamented the short lifespans of lower league managers, calling Scunthorpe’s decision to sack Russ Wilcox “shameful”.
“Unfortunately it’s a disease, particularly among lower league clubs. As soon as they lose a few games this knee-jerk reaction kicks in and the boy goes.
“Obviously I’m an outsider and don’t see Scunthorpe play, while people will point to the fact that since January Wilcox has won nine out of 32.”
“But if you look at the League One table, for example, every manager from halfway down must be looking over their shoulders, which is no way to run a football club.
“I’d be in favour of a managerial transfer window. Maybe it shouldn’t coincide with the players’ transfer window but it could take place in December. It would be an interesting experiment to see whether it would work – and it would at least give managers a fraction more security.”