Analysis: Sheringham’s time at Stevenage
- Credit: Archant
Teddy Sheringham’s dismissal as Stevenage manager came just two days after a defeat to League Two basement side York City.
Sheringham had described the game at Bootham Crescent as a ‘must-not-lose’ match, but lose they did and it proved to be the last straw for Boro chairman Phil Wallace and his board.
Again it was to an injury-time winner, scored by York substitute Danny Galbraith, and it was a goal Sheringham later described as being like a dagger through his heart.
Yet it wasn’t a dagger that was used today but an axe, as Stevenage decided to cut their losses two years and four months early.
Last year under the stewardship of Graham Westley, Stevenage made the League Two play-offs and it was a huge fillip to do so with the club having been relegated from League One the previous season.
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Wallace said after Westley’s departure that results under the previous boss ‘were very good to get into the play-offs’, but decided that he now wanted to go down a different route. Sheringham was put behind the wheel despite having not managed a club previously.
“I think he’s passionate, he’s very grounded as well, for a person that’s done so well in the game, and I think that he’ll be very good for this football club,” Wallace said at the time.
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He added: “Whenever you make change it’s a gamble, it’s an even bigger gamble when you’ve just been in the play-offs, so it’s always going to be a gamble isn’t it.
“I and the board felt a change in direction was needed and we are committed to that.”
Having recently left West Ham United, where he was a member of Sam Allardyce’s coaching staff, Sheringham was appointed on a three-year deal in May and soon got to work trying to build on Westley’s achievement the previous season.
The new boss said he wanted to better the previous year’s sixth place finish, but it proved a difficult and ultimately unsuccessful ambition for a manager who would often say he was still ‘learning’ on the job.
He was having to work on a ‘smaller budget’ and after a clear-out of players in the summer he set about the task with a thin squad and the club picked up just one win in their opening five league games.
The squad was bulked up with loan players – having signed Pat Hoban today (Monday) the club has now brought in 19 on such deals this season – and slowly results began to pick up. This led to a five-match unbeaten run through November.
However, just as with the previous season injuries began to stack up with key personnel such as Steven Schumacher, Dean Parrett and Chris Whelpdale having to spend prolonged periods of time on the sidelines.
A win away to AFC Wimbledon on December 12 was the last under Sheringham, and over December and January he watched on as his side failed to pick up another victory in what would be his last eight games in charge.
During the transfer window the club let Mark Hughes, Jamie McCombe and Brett Williams go, all of whom were summer signings. A number of loan players also departed, including the striker pairing of Jamille Matt and Armand Gnanduillet, leaving the squad bare once more.
Nine players, some permanent and some loans, have since been signed though three had already been at the club and had seen their short-term deal or loan come to an end before re-signing.
Two more loan players even joined today (Monday), the day Sheringham departed.
It has been something of a transition in the middle of, well, a season of transition.
Despite being eight points off relegation Stevenage have conceded more goals (52) than any other team in the league, and in half of their last 10 games they have conceded goals in the 85th minute or later.
It is a problem that has been the scourge of this team all season, but now that is for somebody else to put right.
Darren Sarll, who was in charge of the club’s academy last season but stepped up to the role of first team coach for this campaign, is in temporary charge and his first task will be to steady the ship at home to Crawley Town on Saturday.