Just want to be the first one to say it…
So, we have a new manager in Mark “Robbo” Robinson. Well, “Head Coach” anyway, which may be a significant rebranding of position (Director of Football incoming?)
It could just be some poncy new title to make us look all modern and progressive, though.
Either way, it’s good that we’ve made a (relatively) quick decision.
Two-and-a-half weeks after GH was given his P45 isn’t us dawdling about, especially as we clearly didn’t have somebody lined up.
How long did previous managerial appointments take? About a month?
Especially with a chronic amount of games coming up between now and May, with precious little breathing space.
Whatever, it seems to be the right decision all round. Robbo has impressed many with the way he’s gone about things ever since he took interim charge.
He won many admirers with his post-Oxford Mario Pizza interview, where he mentioned about the whole discipline thing and how it went to pot.
It may sound trivial, but MR has long been a stickler for that kind of thing. Look up the squad’s conduct at Newcastle in the FAYC.
And a certain high-flying Championship side are taking a leaf out of his book…
If he was interim manager, he certainly wasn’t acting like one, and I think that clearly impressed Joe Palmer et al.
From a pragmatic point of view, this appointment makes sense. Nobody can make transfers, apart from free agents, until the end of the season.
Instead of potentially having to employ three new people (new manager and two assistants) we only have to find money for two underlings at most.
MR knows most if not all of the players, and just as importantly they seem to respect him back.
He’s not going to get much time on the training ground, so he’s had two blank weeks to start getting his ideas across.
And he does seem to have a plan. He’s mentioned about “identity”, something that we’ve lacked over the years.
That’s only part of it, needless to say. Talking is one thing, walking it is another.
In case you’ve forgotten, we do need to start winning some more games. Rochdale getting frozen off was a pain in the arse, and could have scuppered Robbo’s tenure before it even got started.
And MR’s two main weaknesses (lack of first team experience and – by his own admission – tactics) are something that needs to be attended to PDQ.
The former might not matter so much, given that he knows all the squad anyway. The latter does though, and that’s why his choice of assistant is vital.
I don’t know who MR’s right hand man was at Wigan, but one would expect a permanent appointment is forthcoming.
That was probably part of the interview process too, asking him who he would bring in.
I mentioned right at the beginning about him being the Head Coach, which does beg the question – if we’re going for a Director of Football, who would it be?
And perhaps just as importantly, when are we going to appoint one? Do we do it now, and risk some upheaval that we don’t currently need?
That’s for the future. For now, the reaction to Robbo’s appointment has been mostly positive.
It feels right, which is a good sign.
We’ll never know who else was in the running, though Ian Burchnall was a name
you had to Google that came into the running very late on.
He was in Scandinavian football, had to run on a shoestring at one club, and was the sort of manager who might have been appointed in different circumstances.
Other than him, and without knowing who else applied and got shortlisted, it was either the unrealistic (the Cowleys), the obligatory ex-WFC player (Sanchez, Euell), or somebody who wasn’t much different from Robbo.
What helps our new boss is that he doesn’t have any Wimbledon Football Club connections.
Yes, he’s come through the ranks at AFCW, and plenty of managers at clubs have had similar paths.
But he’s not yet another (desperate) attempt to rekindle something that has been dead for at least two decades.
I don’t know how true the Lawrie Sanchez rumours were, but that would have proven we had learned nothing.
It’s why I’m also glad we didn’t go for Jason Euell, who would have been Ardley mark 2.
Some may wonder why we’ve gone for MR if we had some decent candidates with experience applying.
No doubt a lot of potential suitors were put off with the £10.24 per hour we pay in wages.
But if you look at the likely appointments Northampton and Brizzle Rovers will be making – you don’t get the cream of the managerial crop when you’re a L1 struggler.
Build ourselves up, and when we look to replace Robinson, we might be able to attract the “better” managers.
For now, Robbo’s job is to keep us up. To do that, he’ll need to stop the dozy tossers on the field having brain farts that keep costing us points.
Do that, and who knows where he can take us?
As popular as his appointment is though, he’s not a miracle worker. Don’t expect him to magically make Ollie Palmer injury free…