Revenge of the Rumour Mill

Last updated : 14 May 2005 By The Blue Pimpernel
With Dennis Wise’s departure less than a week old, a number of managers have already either thrown their hat into the ring, ruled themselves out altogether or have been linked to the vacant manager’s position whether they like it or not. As a result, we’ve had rumour and counter-rumour, denials and one clear indication of who is actually applying for the job.

The week started badly with the news that David Kemp – graduate of Charles Hughes’ Long Ball Academy – was a shoe-in, working alongside former boss Alan McLeary. Worryingly, a large number of fans had never heard of Kemp and was wondering why he was being dismissed so readily, but with talk of Season Tickets not being renewed and some fans swearing never to step foot in The Den again if he was ever appointed, Kemp came out and told the waiting media that, yes, it was true he had been offered the job, but no, he wouldn’t be taking it as he was quite happy at Stoke City, thank you very much.

Of course, such news left a gap needing to be filled – step forward Martin “Mad Dog” Allen, the only man ever to reach the play-offs with a minus goal difference. Probably. However, he quickly played down his interest, preferring instead to concentrate on The Bees’ forthcoming match against Sheffield Wednesday.

Next up was Ray Lewington. The former Watford boss was now the bookies’ favourite, despite the fact he’s going to Fulham to work with Chris Coleman and there was even mention of one Teddy Sheringham returning to the club in a player-manager role, but if West Ham win the play-offs he’s unlikely to be going anywhere.

By Friday, Bournemouth’s Sean O’Driscoll, former Nottingham Forest boss Paul Hart and Andy Hessenthaler – no laughing at the back – were all mentioned. But only one candidate has actually admitted to applying – former Nepal and India national manager Stephen Constantine, who may lack League experience but has more badges than a scout troop.

Jeff: "Trust no one"
Cuddly chairman Jeff Burnige then tantalizing revealed that he’d received over 30 applications – plus another dozen or so who seem to think that taking Millwall into the Premiership on Championship Manager makes them a suitable candidate. Well, more suitable than Jimmy Nicholl anyway.

"No one is a clear favourite at the moment," said Jeff. "I know Millwall fans will want to know what is going on and speculation will be rife

"But I should stress that, at this stage, anything in the press or on websites at the moment which does not come from me will have been put there for a reason - to serve a purpose other than Millwall's.

"So supporters should disregard anything unless it is correctly and directly attributed to me."

And there you have it. We’re not to believe a word anyone says until Jeff says so. Even if the facts say otherwise. Apparently he’s drawing up a shortlist of candidates this weekend and hopes to make an announcement next Friday. Just in time for the Season Ticket Early Bird. Talk about making a drama out of a crisis…

Personally, our money’s on George Petchey.