As the news broke that Simon Grayson had been sacked, I found myself sitting in my car in the exact same location as I was when David Moyes also left the club. However, as I sat reading the updates the difference in emotions between the loss of the two managers couldn’t have been any more disparate.
Moyes’ removal from the club brought this strange sense of relief. Relief combined with a sense of hope. Hope that maybe the club could bring someone in with fresh ideas on how to transform our stuttering side into something worth cheering about. We weren’t after a messiah; in fact, the majority of us didn’t even expect promotion. All we wanted was to win a fair share of games - to have more to cheer about than to worry about.
After one win in fifteen league games it was clear to see that Grayson just wasn’t going to be the man to guide us to security and to build for the future. We wanted him to succeed, that goes without saying, but for whatever reason the former Preston boss simply couldn’t get his cheaply assembled side firing. And now he’s paid the ultimate price.
Just this week, Grayson argued his credentials for the job, noting that:
I can't think of too many other people in football at this current moment in time who could do a better job than I am.
I had a comfortable job at Preston but I had the balls to come to this football club and show what I wanted to do and trust my ability to make a good club great again.
However, 24 hours later Grayson and his bollocks were gone - both proverbial and physical. But Grayson’s argument that he couldn’t think of a better replacement, which was clearly a statement steeped in false bravado, definitely hit a chord with me.
Indeed, Martin Bain’s comments also raised some serious issues that transcend the firing of a lacklustre manager:
Simon and his team have worked tirelessly to achieve the best for the football club during their time here. While we hoped that Simon’s experience in the Football League would help us to a successful season, results have not been good enough for a club of this stature.
In order for us to improve upon our current position, we believe a fundamental change is necessary.
A ‘fundamental change’ you say, Martin? So when will current ownership be packing up shop and leaving? Because right now, that’s literally the only thing that feels cathartic enough to make any real difference to our ongoing plight.
Indeed, Grayson’s claim that, “I can't think of too many other people in football at this current moment in time who could do a better job than I am” has this awfully haunting tone to it. Because deep down many of us understand that it will take a minor miracle to find a manager capable of reversing our fortunes on the pitch.
Just imagine for a second that you’re a potential candidate looking at the situation in which club presently finds itself. Relegation fodder with an under-performing squad of players owned by an absent chairman who has given de facto control of the club to a CEO tasked with slashing costs and keeping the fans at bay. Oh, and there’s no money available for transfers, so if you want to bring in players then you’ll have to sell what little talent we have in order to buy... but then again, when we did that earlier this summer we ended up diverting those funds into the club’s running costs.
It doesn’t present itself as a wonderful opportunity. Our pool of targets will likely be reduced to unproven managers with whom it would be a huge gamble in placing our faith, or the usual has-beens desperate for a way back into the limelight.
It feels grim, and unless we really pull the rabbit out of the hat in terms of an astute appointment then I’m worried that absolutely nothing will change, and the cracks will merely be papered over once again.
It feels really eponymous that we’re currently owned by a man named Short because not only does that accurately describe our odds of finding success this season, but it also perfectly characterises our outlook as an organization: short-termist.
Grayson might have been a symptom of our malaise, but he certainly isn’t the underlying issue.