AFTER the chaos of last week, it is with some relief that this week has passed by without incident. With Phil Turnbull and Gary Brown pressganged into leading the team following the departure of Brian Atkinson and Sean Gregan, things could have been a lot worse. As it was, a decent team performance with emphasis on playing the ball within the earth’s lower atmosphere made the game more enjoyable even if we were denied the win late on.

When the new manager comes in, it is clear that work will need to be done. Even if Martin Gray wishes to continue his “look at me” world tour where he tells any publication willing to interview him that he and he alone was responsible for the success at the club over the past five years, it was clear to all that something wasn’t right about the way the team was playing prior to his departure. And yet, despite losing such a managerial genius, somehow, Turnbull and Brown were able to get performances out of some players that we just hadn’t seen under Gray.

It was hard to pick out an individual top performance given the improvement across the board, but the most notable positive was the lack of any standout poor performances. Everyone contributed to a decent outing and showed that there is plenty of life left in this team even if Gray felt he had taken them as far as he could.

Loading article content

One noticeable absence from the pitch was Mark Beck. Despite being the target of interest from York City, the club have confirmed that he will remain with us. As his biggest fan, I’m delighted about this. I feel a bit sorry for the big man as he has become synonymous with the somewhat agricultural tactics espoused by Gray. It was becoming a difficult watch seeing him being hit with long balls a hundred times a game from every conceivable angle by demand of the manager. I think he can still flourish in a more eye-pleasing approach given his abundant ability with his sometimes redundant feet.

The big issue now is who we bring in to replace Gray. It would appear that we have been blessed with a host of good managers considering our modest station in the game. For me, I hope former glories don’t mislead us down the wrong path. This appointment is going to be the single biggest decision made at the club for some time. It will shape how the club moves forward both in the short and long term. Do we appoint a decorated manager with league experience who may look upon us as a stepping stone to something more in keeping with their ambitions? Or do we bring someone in who appreciates the need for the club as a whole to consolidate its position, particularly off the pitch?

Fortunately, us fans don’t have to make that decision. I suspect whoever we appoint, there will be some who are not keen. It might be that they have played for or managed one of our rivals. It might be they are incapable of sporting sufficient facial hair to satisfy our need for a hipster manager who’s seen the latest trend in coaching in the Swiss third division. Either way, we must get behind the new manager and the players and give them all the support we possibly can. Regardless of what level the new gaffer has previously managed at, this club comes with its own unique pressures and challenges. Getting the fans on board shouldn’t be one of them. After all, if the last week has shown us anything, the previous manager has made it really easy for us to get behind some else in the dugouts that the fans paid for.