Everyone vaguely remembers those terrible supply teachers. They usually step in when a much loved member of staff has a baby, falls ill or quits after Dean in fifth set English threw a chair at her. This new face would often barge through the door with all the grace of a rhino with the shits, half drunk coffee in hand and a scrap of papers briefly outlining what they’ll fail to teach the class today.
These people are desperate to stamp their authority, and set their stall out from the off. “Good morning class, I’m Mr Hill and today we’ll be...are you chewing gum?! Don’t give me that, I can see you chewing! Bin. Bin! Put it in the...do you know what, we’ll talk about this a break time”.
Without the luxury of time to build up a rapport with the class, the supply attempts to demand respect. You can’t learn in six weeks which pupil has a desperately fragile confidence which must be nurtured, and which cocky so-and-so uses a brash veneer to hide their insecurities. Without the ability to take a personalised approach to managing the class, the supply has a one-fits-few approach to behaviour management. They demand respect. None of this nonsense about mutual appreciation for each other’s role in the classroom, they will bloody behave and they’ll do it because I said so.
It all boils down to ego. It must hurt one’s pride to only be trusted with a young person’s education for a matter of weeks. Your career is one great exercise in desperately proving yourself to your superiors, in the hope of their validation.
I mention this for one glaringly obvious reason. Keith Hill is a supply teacher. He has barged into our fragile little world and sprayed his ego like a teenager abuses cans of Lynx Africa. He has demanded the obedience from his players and fans without first proving that he can be trusted with it. His ego has meant that any positive change is Hill “knowing his onions”. Any deficiencies are somebody else’s problem - his budget. The younger members of the squad. Phil...what’s his name?
Like a badly planned series of lessons, we were told earlier in the week that left back Adam Chicksen was not a viable aspect of a long term plan. He has been replaced by Brandon Fleming, a promising young player whose long term future firmly lies at Hull City. I wonder how this fits with the long term plan? We can only hope that Joe Bunney’s injuries don’t keep him out of action for much longer.
Let’s hope, that like all bad supply teachers, that he’ll soon be a distant memory that we look back upon and laugh at. When Bolton Wanderers eventually land in League Two, we need a leader who will galvanise the whole club; players, staff and fans. Keith Hill has served so far to divide and rule - it cannot last.
If he is to stay, we must do what we did when we were stuck with the terrible supply teacher. Sit with gritted teeth and bear it, because there’s a more important thing at stake. In Year 10, it was making sure you passed your English GCSE despite the clown at the front of the class. Now, it’s enjoying the football club that was nearly taken from us.
Disagree with me? I can categorically tell you that you’re wrong. I know my onions.