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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, 11:04 GMT
Hessenthaler steps down at Gills
Andy Hessenthaler
Hessenthaler has stepped down as Gillingham manager
Player-boss Andy Hessenthaler has stepped down as Gillingham manager, but will remain as a player and has been invited to join the board of directors.

Chairman Paul Scally announced in a statement that Hessenthaler "requested that he be released from his duties as team manager with immediate effect".

Scally added: "He felt he had taken the team as far as he could, and that a new voice was required with new ideas."

Assistant boss John Gorman has taken temporary charge of the team.

The 39-year-old has made 283 League appearances since joining the Gills from Watford in 1996, and took over as manager in June 2000 when Peter Taylor left to take over at Leicester.

17 June 1965: Born in Dartford
12 September 1991: Joins Watford for 65,000 from non-league Redbridge Forest
7 August 1996: Signed by Gillingham boss Tony Pulis for club record fee of 235,000
1999: Appointed player-coach by new manager Peter Taylor
28 May 2000: Helps Gills win promotion by beating Wigan 3-2 in Division Two play-off final
29 June 2000: Becomes player-manager after Taylor joins Leicester
2002-03: Gills finish 11th in Division One - their highest ever league finish
23 November 2004: Steps down as manager
Scally paid tribute to the service that Hessenthaler has given to the Kent club, who are currently languishing in 23rd place in the Championship.

He explained: "Andy has been an outstanding talent both on and off the field over the past eight or nine years - he has always given 110% to every issue, often at the expense of his family life.

"He felt it was in the best interests of the club if he stood down.

"Because of the tremendous respect I have for him as an individual and as a leader, I have accepted his request, but have asked him to join my colleagues and me on the board of directors, which he will consider over the next few days.

"In any event, Andy will continue to train with the team and will be available for selection if required.

"It is indeed the actions of a big man to step down from a position of responsibility when the interests of others may be improved - Andy Hessenthaler is, and will remain as far as I and Gillingham fans are concerned, a big and brave man."

Hessenthaler had been the ninth longest-serving manager of the 92 Premiership and Football League clubs.

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