Hello and welcome to what has been a sporadic something for the weekend this season for one reason or another. Last week I was working late, I was tired, and to sit down and write what would have been a depressing article was the last thing I wanted to do. This week work is over for a while, I`m a little refreshed and there are certainly some interesting happenings at The Gas to talk about. So….
I can`t say I am surprised that Mark McGhee was sacked, but I am disappointed. Not disappointed that he was sacked when he was, but disappointed that as a club we have had to remove the manager because things were clearly not working (Again!). I don`t think anybody wanted to have to sack McGhee, but it came to a point where a tough decision had to be made one way or the other. When York became the latest team to embarrass us, and being 4-1 down after little more than half an hour, I think anyone at the game or following at home must have guessed that was it for Mark McGhee.
Anyway the decision to remove Mark McGhee was taken after the game, and so we were on the lookout for yet another manager. The search didn`t take long, and for Rovers to look to the future, they went back to the past and contacted John Ward who looked set to be joining Plymouth as a Director of Football. After previous managerial searches, the time taken and other criticisms I am sure Nick Higgs and the board knew they had to act swiftly and could not afford to wait. If the board were getting prepared to back Mark McGhee in the January transfer window, they had to have someone in place for it and give them a chance to wheel and deal. We are in a tough spot right now and we cannot afford to mess about as we need to move up the table as soon as possible.
I have to say that I was also pleased it was an appointment until the end of the season, and to look at the situation come the end of the season. Right now the only objective is to try and get safe and get safe as soon as possible. Let`s face it, depending whether we are in the league or not will impact on any future plans and personally I believe the club needs a complete reassessment at the end of the season. Since the UWE plans have been going on behind the scenes the past few years, it seems like the football side has been allowed to slip and I continue to wonder if Nick Higgs has been spreading himself too thinly across the club.
Come the end of the season and depending on the situation, I wouldn`t mind seeing John Ward stay on, but perhaps move ‘upstairs` into a Director of Football role with a younger first team manager/head coach. If we went down this route however, I wouldn`t want to see John Ward in the dugout like Lennie was and he would have limited involvement in the first team save for having involvement in facilitating transfers and any scouting arrangements. This sort of arrangement I would hope would maintain a sense of continuity, whatever managers come and go and hopefully imprint a structure on the football side of the club across various levels. Of course at the moment that is all a bit of day dreaming and a long way away whilst we have a battle on our hands.
I urge as many of you as possible to get to The Mem on Saturday and get behind the team. Leave your shopping until Sunday or Monday and let`s put all our effort in to getting three points from what will be a tough match against a strong Rotherham side. It`s going to be a fight until the end of the season and we need as much help as we can get. It hasn`t been great, the players haven`t shown anywhere near enough of what they are capable of, but every body and every voice is needed. I think questions about what has continued to happen on the pitch and why need to be asked. If we stay up they cannot be forgotten or brushed, but right now survival is the aim and we must do all we can to help achieve this.
Whatever you are up to have a great weekend and a great Christmas and hopefully I will be back next week, talking about some better performances and a few welcome points on the board.
Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips