Published: 05:00, 11 January 2022
Maidstone midfielder Michael Phillips has dismissed rumours he and manager Hakan Hayrettin don’t get on.
Phillips was sent screenshots of an internet forum thread in which his relationship with Hayrettin was called into question.
“I have heard that the chemistry between Hak and Michael Phillips doesn’t work too well, but that happens,” wrote one fan.
“So long as they can work together and respect each other’s professional qualities, who cares if they never go for a beer together,” wrote another.
Phillips is in his second spell playing under Hayrettin, rejoining United from Wealdstone last summer, and is keen to set to the record straight.
He freely admits they’re two fiery characters but that doesn’t stop them getting on.
That goes beyond football, with the Stones boss also there for Phillips when he was going through some off-field issues earlier this season.
“People sent me this stuff saying there’s tension between me and Haks but we’ve got a good relationship and I just want to clear things up,” said Phillips.
“I’m fiery, Haks is a passionate, fiery manager, and we get on.
“Everyone’s seen behind the scenes, I probably get on with him one of the best out of all the players.
“I’m always in his office and he’s always joking around with me.
“It’s business, football, so if I make a mistake, if we have a bad run, like we did, it’s his job, so of course he’s going to be angry.
“If I feel like I haven’t done anything wrong, I’m fiery on the pitch anyway and I bite back, which is probably not the best thing to do, but we get on well.
“One game we’ll argue, everyone else does it, but people are putting it on me.
“You can say something back and the next day it’s like nothing’s happened.”
The fact Hayrettin brought Phillips back to the club says everything.
He returned unfit but the Stones boss kept faith and has been rewarded with a string of fine performances from the former Crystal Palace youngster.
“I had Haks when I was here last time, we got on well, he believed in me, he wanted me to come back,” said Phillips.
“I came back overweight but he believed in me, he said get fit, get fit, you’re going to start games, I got fit and he’s a man of his word, he got me playing.
“If he didn’t like me or I didn’t like him, he wouldn’t have wanted me back and I wouldn’t be here.
“He’s a passionate manager and he’s doing well for us.
“His passion is making us strive to get results - he just doesn’t want us to take our foot off the pedal.
“We went six or seven games without a win and the next thing we’ve turned it around and gone top of the league. He’s the right manager for the club, 100 per cent.”
Phillips will always be grateful for Hayrettin’s support when he was dealing with personal issues.
“People don’t see this,” he said. “He pulled me in the office when things were going on, off the pitch.
“There was a point I was getting called in his office all the time and the boys were like, ‘Jesus, you’re in there every day’.
“He makes sure I’m good.
“There’s no bad blood but you get one rumour and everyone jumps on the bandwagon.”