AS ROTHERHAM’S directors and coach Andre Bester meet for another disciplinary hearing today - which may result in the South African’s sacking - there are several points to make about this crisis.
The timing of the disciplinary process couldn’t be worse and, in my view, defies common sense considering Titans face the most important home match of the season on Saturday against Doncaster.
The players are under enough pressure without the threat of their coach being sacked.
The Clifton Lane crisis will benefit Doncaster and other clubs who must think that senior officials at Rotherham have taken leave of the senses. Rotherham’s league position is a respectable sixth. Once injured players are back, the squad, recruited by Bester, can finish in the top four.
Directors, Martin Jenkinson and Nick Cragg, who deserve praise for investing thousands of pounds into the club, have clashed many times with Bester, whose personality can be hard to deal with.
He seems an autocrat, wholikes to be in control. Some former Rotherham players, who dislike him intensely, would never go back to the club because of his manner.
Indeed, the current England coach, Stuart Lancaster, when he was in charge of Leeds, wanted Bester as his forwards’ coach, but having spoken to him decided that he could not work with him.
On the other hand, his record, not just this season, is good, and considering Bester’s reputation of developing players like England forward Hendre Fourie, Robin Copeland and Semisi Taulava Rotherham’s, directors should think twice before showing Bester the door.
It is to be hoped that if they do sack him, they have a better coach lined up. Supporters won’t want a repeat of the debacle that happened the last time Bester departed, in 2007. The Kiwi appointed by Jenkinson and Cragg, Phil Werahiko, turned out to be out of his depth - they have to get in right this time if Bester goes.
It’s no surprise Bester’s future is on the line. He has frequently clashed with the directors whether it is over the budget or, recently, the manner in which Bester removed forwards’ coach Ben Wade. Bester’s abrasive style will inevitably upset players and officials, and while he has mellowed during his second spell at Rotherham, mutual respect between directors and coach seems to have disappeared.
Finally, if Rotherham win on Saturday, the players should receive the highest praise because they will have overcome this self-inflicted turmoil off the pitch.