Here’s my column from last week’s Leader. It forms part of the paper’s comprehensive pre-match coverage every Friday, featuring interviews, an in-depth look at the opposition and lots of statistical analysis. All content in the column (c) www.leaderlive.co.uk.
The field of contenders for the Racecourse hot seat has been narrowed down to a shortlist of fifteen. I’ve got to be honest and say that in my book a shortlist of fifteen is actually just a list, but I digress. Narrowing their number down to one is a crucial task.
There’s clearly been a lot of chaff to sort from the wheat. Firstly, the timewasters had to be removed from the process. If you sent in an application based on your third place in Serie A as manager of Udinese on Football Manager and thought you were funny, then congratulations. You truly are a comic genius.
I suppose at least people who think playing a football management simulation makes them able to get a group of real footballers to perform have delusions based partially in reality. Football Manager might only take place inside a computer, but at least it’s a meticulously researched, incredibly detailed simulation. People who apply on the grounds of a photograph of themselves with an arm round a famous manager they met on the beach while on holiday are definitely a great deal less well rooted in reality. Ploughing through reams of such applications can’t have been much fun.
And then there are the silly names attached to the job. Why do people really think Robbie Savage will want to be Wrexham’s manager? Indeed, why do people want Robbie Savage as Wrexham’s manager?
I really can’t understand why people are enamoured with the idea of having a celebrity manager. Just because you’ve heard of someone doesn’t mean they’re going to be any good at a job. Everyone’s heard of Justin Bieber, but I wouldn’t ask him to park my car.
So who are the shadowy fifteen, one of whom holds our immediate destiny in his hands? I can’t say I know, but I am sure there are some interesting contenders. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that as we’re a fifth tier side we’ll struggle to attract applicants of a reasonable calibre.
Despite the fact that we’ve had a mediocre season, despite the fact that crowds have gone down in comparison to previous seasons when we’ve been tilting at the title, our average attendance is still impressive compared to the rest of the division. Only two teams, Luton and Grimsby, have a higher average attendance than us in the Skrill Premier, and ten clubs in the Football League attract smaller crowds than us week-in week-out.
This is a club with potential, and certainly a club which ought to be hauling itself up to a higher division. Someone’s going to come in and do exactly that, and not only will it look terrific on their CV, but they’ll be adored.
There’s a groundswell among Wrexham fans who want a manager who knows his way around non-league football as the next appointment. Well, there are plenty of managers with solid bona fides at this level who will see the job as an ideal stepping stone to the Football League. Forget the timewasters; sorting through a strong field will be the real task for the board.