Fans feel boss had long enough to achieve promotion from League Two.

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Gillingham fans feel Andy Hessenthaler’s departure from the club by ‘mutual consent’ is only a surprise because of his relationship with chairman.

The club released a statement this afternoon which said the club legend had agreed with chairman Paul Scally to terminate his contract after two years at the club.

It comes as the club failed for the second year running to achieve promotion back to League One, last year it was on goal difference, while this term the Gills finished two points shy of Crewe.

Editor of fan website Gills365.co.uk Simon Head felt Hess should have taken the club to League One with this season after the club splashed the cash last summer.

“I’m surprised,” he said. “If only because he is such a good friend of the chairman, and he is held in such high esteem at the football club.

“He had two years with good squads to achieve what he was appointed to do, to get us out of the league.

“The first season he had he said it wasn’t his team and we should judge him this season.

“He was given a big budget, we spent a lot of money on players last summer.

“As a figure at the club, he is above everybody else I have ever seen, just because he was such a legend as a player, and he stepped in and did an okay job as a player-manager.”

Mr Head said fans should be realistic about what manager should come in, rubbishing early talk of Steve Bruce.

“If I had a short list, my pick would be Martin Allen,” he said.

The statement from the club said: “The Chairman would like to thank Andy for all his hard work and effort over the past two years and both he and Andy, whilst disappointed the club has not achieved its aims this season or last, want nothing but success for the club going forward.

“Given the huge and invaluable contribution Andy has made to the club, the chairman has asked him to consider joining the Board as a full Company Director in a role that would assume responsibility and oversee all club football development, scouting, recruitment and all other football related matters. Andy has agreed to consider this offer over the next few days.

“In light of the above, Nicky Southall will be leaving the club forthwith. We wish him every success in the future.”

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