Marcus Braddock reflects on a busy week at the Montgomery Waters Meadow
Last week, the final thing I mentioned was that I would like a bit of a rest from football for a couple of weeks before the World Cup starts. However, the week has been one of changes and a change is as good as a rest so I have renewed vigour on the football front!
Paul Hurst leaving was a bit of a kick whilst we were already down but I'm sure that wasn't his intention, he should leave with our thanks for a job well done. We should also be thankful that Mr Hurst didn't waste any time before going, giving us time to get someone new in. It's a lesson if nothing else, there is very little loyalty in the game beyond our own support. When a manager goes to a club he's there for himself, there's nothing wrong with that, we all work for our money not for the sake of the employer. If you or I were offered a bigger job with more money we'd take it with barely a thought. When a chance arises you need to grab it and hold on to it, especially at a higher level than you've previously managed. So good luck and thanks Mr Hurst, you took a team low on confidence after avoiding relegation and turned it into one that pushed the strongest teams all the way over the line.
It was good to see us act very quickly to secure the services of another successful non-league manager after just a couple of days, it gives the new man plenty of time to bring in players and have everything in place ready for pre-season. John Askey is the new manager and he comes here after a successful season at Macclesfield Town, winning the Conference by a rather large margin.
I said there was very little loyalty in modern football but you won’t find greater loyalty than Mr Askey, he was with Macclesfield from 1984 until 2003 as a player and since then he's been with Macclesfield since then, coaching in different capacities.
He also comes from a footballing background as his father Colin Askey played for Port Vale, Walsall and Mansfield Town. He also had spells Milton United and Macclesfield meaning that he played for all three of his son’s teams. Askey senior also had a short spell playing for Wellington Town but we won’t hold that against him.
I'm feeling quite positive about Mr Askey after looking at his recent managerial record, he seems to have regularly finished in the top half of the National League on the proverbial shoestring budget and capped it off by running away with the title to bring Macc back to the Football League. He really does look the right fit for our football club and I hope he can establish us as a top half team over the next few seasons. I certainly don't expect another season like the last one but it would be nice to cement ourselves in the higher reaches of the division, giving us a base for regular assaults on the play-off positions.
It's a little sad to see Craig MacGillivray heading south to Portsmouth. He was unfortunate to have Dean Henderson ahead of him in the pecking order and when he was called upon Craig performed very well. It seemed a little harsh to drop him in favour of Henderson for the Football League Trophy after he'd played the majority of the group games so I can understand him wanting to leave. However, the timing seems a little odd, now that Deano has moved on you would think he could make the position his. Either way he deserves thanks for his performances and I wish him good luck at his new club.
MacGillivray isn't the only player with a contract offer, Junior Brown, Abu Ogogo and Lenell John-Lewis have been offered deals to stay with the club but so far there has been no news on their futures. Alex Rodman and Arthur Gnahoua have met the criteria needed to be offered an extension. Discussions about the extensions will take place soon. Whatever happens I'd like to thank them for their contributions this season, they all played a part in a great season.
With an eye toward the future of the football club we signed our young keeper Cam Gregory on his first professional contract. I hope to see a great deal of him over the next few seasons, I've only heard good things about him and when I have watched the youth team, he's looked in control and more than able. Good luck Cameron!!!
Now we have no football to play it's time to renovate the pitch ready for last season. Anyone who has tried to keep a lawn in good condition will realize that this is a very labour intensive task. The majority of the work will wait until after the Lionel Richie concert but everything should be in tip-top condition ready for pre-season.