New Hibs boss Jack Ross relieved to be free of Netflix crew

“It was about me trying to get on with my job as best as I could, while they were trying to make a television programme”

Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 12:07 pm
Jack Ross had to make compromises to accommodate the wishes of Sunderland AFC and Netflix

New Hibs boss Jack Ross knows all eyes will be on him, his every move scrutinised as he returns to Scottish football after being sacked by Sunderland.

But at least he knows he won’t have the cameras which were trained on his every step at the Stadium of Light as Netlfix filmed a follow-up to their hugely successful series “Sunderland ‘Til I Die,” chronicling the Black Cats’ crash into League One in England having been relegated from the Championship the season before.

Ross failed by a single goal, beaten in a Wembley play-off by Charlton to win promotion at the end of his first season at the Stadium of Light, paying the ultimate penalty last month as he was axed with his team sitting in sixth place.

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It may have been a chastening experience in the end but, insisted the 43-year-old former St Mirren and Alloa manager, he had been “burned” by the experience, adamant he’s delighted to have been given the opportunity of a quick return as successor to Paul Heckingbottom, who suffered the same fate at Easter Road a fortnight ago.

Ross revealed he wasn’t sure of the merits of a second “fly on the wall” series of life at Sunderland but the club’s board desired to make it happen won – although they went a strange way about it.

“To try to convince me to help them with it, they showed me little bits of the first series,” he said. “And for some reason they decided to show me the clip where Chris (Coleman) comes out of the stadium after being relegated.

“I’ve no idea why they showed me that. The problem is, I’d started the job already. If they had showed me that before I got it, I don’t know if I would have taken it. I hadn’t even taken charge of a game at that point and was thinking ‘Oh aye, this will be good’.”

A reluctant participant, Ross, nevertheless, set the parameters of just how intrusive he allowed the film makers to become.

He said: “There’s always some push and shove. Ideally, they wanted access to more than I was willing to give them and, as a caveat to that, I had to give up some of my own time for interviews and have camera crews in my car coming home from work. It’s very different.

“The people involved in the production crew were very nice. It it was just about explaining to them at times that it was nothing personal. It was about me trying to get on with my job as best as I could, while they were trying to make a television programme.

“There was a continual desire for dressing room access or tactical meeting access. That’s why I was always firm in my stance that they wouldn’t get it. Not because I thought I would change, but the perception from the players might. The message gets diluted. If there’s a camera crew present then maybe the players wonder if you believe what you are saying or whether it’s for effect. I was very consistent in the access I allowed.”

Having said that Ross believes the second series will prove to be just as popular as the first, even if he’ll probably feel uncomfortable watching himself back. Revealing he’s already seen some of the yet-to-be-shown episodes, he said: “It’s very well done, very well produced.

“It’s probably less enjoyable when you are in it than when you are just watching. That’s a different experience, that season of having a camera crew omnipresent and everything that goes on with that. That’s done now and I’ve probably become less paranoid about that.

“If people judge me from how I appear on a TV programme rather than how I am first-hand, then so be it. I’m sure everyone would be the same. A lot of people don’t like watching themselves back or listening to themselves. Well, if you extend that further and be part of something which is edited and put together, you can be unsure about what the storyline will be and how you will come across.

“But, truth be told, you make peace with it. I’m sure people will enjoy watching it but it’s not something I’d love to be part of again. It didn’t give me a thirst for reality television, that’s for sure.”