The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Good? Hard-working? Honest?

12 February 2018

Trentside Diary writes: So that's it. He's gone. After a 12-game winless run. After the transfer window is closed. Russell has left the building. I would never normally crow over someone losing his job but the most awaited departure in the fourth flight has finally happened. Lucky me, I get the first post-Slade (Series Two) diary.

Life as a football manager is always slightly precarious but on this occasion it seems to have taken far too long for sense to prevail. I, for one, have no sympathy for Slade. Initially many were undecided when calls for him to go started because we just needed safety this season – but even that is now in the balance after a long, slow decline. If I was half as incompetent as Slade has been since his appointment last year, I would have been on a 'performance improvement' pathway to getting the sack long ago, but that's probably far too 'modern management' for the likes of Fenty.

Appointing Slade was never really a sound business decision but good, old-fashioned nepotism. "A good, hard-working and honest man who cared intensely about the club" according to the official statement. I have no idea whether he is "hard-working"; I have no information to suggest either way – and, let's be honest, many would dream of a career in football in any guise, so why wouldn't he be hard-working?

"Good"? Not a word I personally would use to describe him. After he wouldn't let the players leave the pitch at half-time at Sincil Bank all those years ago, and then bailed in all but name before the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium, there are many words I would use – but "good" isn't one of them.

"Honest"? I have no idea, but listening to the post-match interviews of the last few weeks I think sadly that "deluded" is nearer the mark. Poor John Tondeur, who had to go through the interviews while the same waffle was forthcoming, should get a medal for maintaining his professionalism and politeness at all times.

Put that all together and is this someone who cares about the club? Sadly, Russell was always in it for himself and if he had really cared, he would have fallen on his sword long ago. So the end of an era, and let us never forget that coming back to the club for a third time didn't work for Lord Alan Buckley. May Slade never darken our door again.

Where do we go from here? The relationship between Paul Wilkinson and Slade always seemed slightly strained. I'm not sure they came as a package but were probably a partnership dreamed up by Fenty. Like a reality show where you are paired up with someone you can't stand and everything is a bit awkward. Let's hope that is the case, and that now he's free to set the team up as he wants to, Wilko can rally the players and stop the rot in the short term.

We're all going to have to let the pain go for the players we have lost recently. The constant merry-go-round of players who were brought in, hardly played, and then let go has been almost impossible to keep up with. We have more loanees than we can play. We are not scoring goals. Our first-choice keeper is still injured. We need someone who will set the team up to play football and rally fans and players alike.

The 'supporters' liaison officer' at the club has urged us to stick together and push on. If this had been Kristine Green, I would be right there with her – but this, again, is one of the areas where the club has shown it has absolutely no idea how to engage with fans. No, you can't please everyone but Kristine was well-respected for her hard work and everything she did to liaise with other clubs. If they botch the appointment of the SLO, we certainly don't trust Fenty and the board to appoint the next manager. Apart from Hurst, his appointments have been average to poor. Until we organise a fans' takeover we can speculate as much as we like but we are stuck with his choice.

I had, for the first time ever, said I would not renew my season ticket in the summer if Slade was still there. I am relieved not to have to keep to my word on this. May we all be returning to League football next year.