Club Statement

Greensnet Editor
Mon 04 Jun 2018, 10:27

It has been brought to the Board's attention that James Gray posted a number of tweets when he was with St Albans City that were considered by some as being offensive and racially motivated. James responded to the ensuing criticism by issuing a full apology. The then St Albans Chairman spoke to James at the time and was satisfied that no action needed to be taken.

Notwithstanding the fact that these events occurred over 5 years ago and that there have been no further instances, a concern has been raised regarding James's suitability as Hendon manager and the process that was followed that resulted in his appointment.

The Board takes these types of concerns seriously. Having now reviewed the process that was undertaken and the outcome of that process, the Board remains of the unanimous view that, notwithstanding the events described above, James is still our number one choice as manager.

With regard to the process that the Board followed that led to James's appointment, the club can confirm that a process was agreed as soon as Gary announced that he was leaving and that all members of the Board participated in that process but to varying degrees. Simon Lawrence and Daz Bloor reviewed all CVs that were received prior to the application deadline and compiled a shortlist of potential managers from a gratifyingly strong pool of candidates. At that time, James was recommended by Simon and Daz as their preferred candidate. The other Board members, all of whom were in possession of James's CV and feedback on his references, supported this recommendation and the interviewing process was initiated.

In view of the fact that Gary only advised us of his decision to move to Hampton on 24 May and in an attempt to convince members of last season's squad to remain at the club, it was unanimously decided that we would only interview James at this stage in the hope that he would perform as strongly in his interview as we expected him to, given his CV and the quality of the references that we had obtained. Simon and Daz were very impressed both with what James had to say and with the way that he said it. That made the final decision to appoint James on Friday morning a formality.

With regard to the Board's decision to now re-confirm James's appointment, Simon Lawrence said "There have been a number of occasions in the past few years when the Board has had to consider difficult issues of this nature. Our guiding principle has tended to be that everyone is entitled to a second chance and we see absolutely no reason why James should not be treated in exactly the same way, particularly given that he apologised unreservedly at the time, that he appears to have been a model professional since then and that the references that we received prior to his interview painted him as an exemplary manager, coach and person. The Board hopes that everyone connected with Hendon will now get behind James and wish him luck for the challenges that lie ahead on the pitch."

James Gray said "I was happy to apologise 5 years ago and I am happy to repeat my apology now. Simon described the club as an inclusive one that is welcoming to all members of the community and I look forward to playing my part in helping to ensure that the club is recognised as such both in the local community and more widely. I am fully aware of the ambassadorial responsibility that sits alongside my responsibility to win football matches and I am firmly committed to both aspects of my role. I look forward to meeting other members of the Hendon family in the coming days and weeks".

As a fans-owned club, we pride ourselves on our openness and transparency and anyone connected to the club should feel free to contact Simon by email ( if they wish to discuss any aspect of this announcement. The club does not, however, intend to issue any further public statements on this matter.