Terry Christie: School assemblies became a trial if I had just been sent off

I was sent to the stand six times. In only one of these occasions was the action justified

Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 7:30 am
Headteacher and football manager: Switching between his roles was not always straightforward for Terry Christie. Picture: TSPL
Headteacher and football manager: Switching between his roles was not always straightforward for Terry Christie. Picture: TSPL

The most ignominious thing that can happen to a football manager is being sent to the stand.

I should know because it happened to me six times. You will not be surprised to know that in only one of these occasions was the action justified.

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In the other five the referees were picking on me.

Being sent to the stand is not a pleasant experience but for me it was extra embarrassing.

As a headteacher I took assemblies every day and spent 15 or so minutes telling the pupils of the need to be good citizens and to behave themselves.

Doing this the morning after a well-publicised banishment was a bit unnerving. However, my philosophy of “do as I say, not as I do” kicked in and I managed to get through it.

My offences were wide ranging. At Ayr before kick-off I had pleaded unsuccessfully with the referee not to start the match on a surface resembling an ice rink rather than a football 
field.

When one of my players fell heavily I invaded the pitch with the inevitable consequence.

Then there was the time I suggested to the referee at half-time that, “It is your job to enforce the laws of the game”.

Very controversial I know.

For both these offences I was fined and banned from the touchline.

I must also have the record for the earliest exodus. At Firhill, with less than a minute played, referee Brian McGinlay, pictured, decided that he had enough of me and ordered me off.

The Firhill changing rooms are detached from the stand and so to get into the stand I had to go out into the street.

A Jags fan spotted me and said, “That you leaving Terry? Cannae be much of a game.”

A few managers prefer sitting in the stand. I hated that as I liked to be close to the action where I could influence my players (and the referee).

Mind you, if I had sat in the 
stand, morning assemblies 
would have been a bit 
easier.

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