Stevenage FC’s new boss needs to be hard-working, passionate, knowledgeable, operate on a shoestring and bring on youngsters – hold on didn’t Darren Sarll do that?
PUBLISHED: 21:20 18 March 2018 | UPDATED: 21:20 18 March 2018
© 2017 Danny Loo, All Rights Reserved
So, Stevenage boss Phil Wallace has sacked Darren Sarll while he decides who to appoint as his replacement.
The list of those in the frame to replace the honourable Sarll is out there and includes some notable possibilities.
Although as one Fleet Street journo messaged me on Sunday to ask, where’s the money going to come from to pay another big name?
There has been a lot of speculation already, including a significantly large number of Stevenage fans demanding Dino Maamria take over the reins.
He may well be a very good choice if Wallace decides to go down that route. And for what it’s worth I for one would agree.
One thing Wallace can’t do is choose another big name who is completely inexperienced at League Two level. Because Teddy Sheringham proved such decisions rarely work.
So surely names such as Paul Ince, Lee Clark and Steve Cotterill can be ruled out. Along with Richard Money, John Still and Brian McDermott to name but a few.
What he needs is someone who is passionate, can bring on youth players, can pick up experienced, senior pro’s for a pittance through his extensive contacts in the game – not to mention a boss who favours a progressive, high tempo pressing game, en vogue in English football, but is pragmatic enough to opt for a more direct style in a bid to save a game.
I’d save the above would be pretty much what Sarll has on his CV already. Not to mention a win percentage that stands comparison with any Boro boss over the last ten years.
Yes, the two previous results against Crewe and Port Vale have been desperately disappointing.
Yes, the side has massively underachieved since hitting second spot early this season. Yes, there have been hugely disappointing games in which basic errors have been made, that have cost points far more times than can keep long-suffering fans onside.
But the fact remains Boro aren’t going to get relegated this season, so why not wait until the end of the season to make a decision?
Why not sit down with Sarll and go through a list of every player on a permanent contract to see what the club is left with after all the talented loanees go back to their clubs.
And then work out what the budget is. And if Sarll and Wallace are poles apart in their demands then say ‘thanks but no thanks’ and part company.
The undermining of Sarll through corporate management target-speak and constant reference to KPIs hasn’t done him any favours, even if Sarll was always loyal to Wallace.
I’ve been behind the scenes at Bragbury End and as someone who covers everything from non-league to the Champions League I don’t believe he had ‘lost’ the changing room.
Yes, perhaps, there should have been more emphasis on having fun instead of drills all the time but it didn’t do George Graham’s Arsenal sides any harm.
Nor Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and Inter Milan teams either. Or, as I can imagine, Kevin Nolan’s Notts County, Mansfield under Steve Evans before he left or Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe.
It was sad to see the frustration Sarll showed immediately after the Crewe result.
I’ve seen a lot of the club – as a sports journalist and occasional BBC3CR pundit – at the Lamex, on the road and behind the scenes at the training ground at Bradbury End to know how hard he, his staff and the players work.
Which is why his heartfelt reaction immediately after the match should have been viewed as the earthy analysis of a man who cares deeply about the club, not an exercise in blaming others.
The players know they let him down. They know they let themselves down. They know deep down – if they are being honest with themselves – their second-half display in allowing a two-goal lead to slide two weeks in a row wasn’t good enough. Yes the 7-1 capitulation against Luton Town was unacceptable. But three days later Boro beat the current League Two leaders, Accrington Stanley, 3-2 in a cracking game at the Lamex.
The fact remained Sarll helped phase youth-team players into the first-team and guided the Boro through to a respectable 10th-placed finish last year in his first full season in charge after taking over from the shambles left behind by the previous manager.
He was moulding the nucleus of a good side staffed with talented youngsters and a mix of old heads – even if there were awful results which alienated many.
Is it his fault they continually made basic errors time and again over the course of a frustrating season – despite drilling them so hard on the training ground?
In a sense of course it is as the buck always stops with the manager.
But can you be certain the next boss will do any better?
Sarll is a passionate, honest, hard-working bloke who cared deeply about the club, working all hours in an attempt to move it forward.
Alas, his dream of progression will not now materialise. Which is a real shame.
So now is the time for the team to move on and show just how good they can be under a new man.
But that new man must be someone who knows the club inside out, can work on a shoestring, understands League Two and will happily spend 16 hours a day consumed by Stevenage FC.
Wallace has to get the appointment spot on.
If he gets it right the new manager can reap the benefits of the foundations Sarll laid over the past two years, unite the fans and have a tilt at promotion next season.
But if he gets it drastically wrong the Conference beckons.
Who’d be a manager when the only certainly is the sack.
Even if in Sarll’s case it came too early in light of the plans and project he’s been working so hard to achieve over the last two years.
What do YOU think? Follow @laythy29 and @stevenageborofc and tweet your views.