Manager Craig Short and assistant Dave Kevan were yesterday morning fired from Meadow Lane following Saturday’s loss at Colchester, and predictably the knives are out for Ray Trew that a Notts legend had not been given the time he needed.
Personally, i don’t think there’s a single rationally minded Notts County fan that saw this coming. In truth, we’d have all wanted Craig to have a bit longer in the job to see if he could he could get that little bit more out of the players for us to push on.
On the other side of the coin, how long might that take?
Saturday’s defeat is the fourth such occasion where County have thrown away a promising position and it was getting clearer that something needed to be done. You can only go so many games praising great performances whilst the side fails to pick up points, that much had become evident on Saturday afternoon.
And as previously stated, these four performances point to 12 points lost. We’d be sitting joint top with Brighton as things stand. In these black and white terms, Craig Short perhaps has every right to feel hard done by.
The job was Craig’s first managerial role in English football, having previously been out in Hungary at Ferencvaros. And in truth it was a shock appointment that Ray Trew and the board made back in June when you hear such quality names being linked with the job.
Pre-season was promising enough some good results and some (on paper at least) very strong signings. Ben Burgess, Liam Chilvers, John Harley, Krystian Pearce and Kevin Smith all looked to be fantastic additions to an already strong squad. The signs were good.
The club’s now regular pre-season tour of Austria was completed with a win and a defeat in Craig Short’s first games at the helm. Back on home soil, Meadow Lane saw a win, a defeat and a creditable draw with Premier League opposition prior to the season starting.
Results and displays were promising, whilst the new additions looked good, the signs were certainly there that the team would be able to hit the ground running and keep up last season’s momentum.
Opening day at Meadow Lane, and the optimism that had built over the last three months, was crushed. Quite literally, crushed. Huddersfield Town gave Craig Short and his team the hardest possible wake up call you can imagine with a 3-0 win. Craig Short was already on notice perhaps.
In truth it took some weeks to turn things around. Some of the football was truly awful, just hopeless. But largely by the end of his run, Short’s teams had put in more performances of credit than displays of ineptitude (no less so than a fantastic victory at London Road over Peterborough in the league, and an away trip to Championship outfit Watford in the League Cup). It just so happens that too few finished with the right result for Notts.
And now, Short has left Notts pretty much how he’d come in. Out of the blue. On both his arrival and departure, all you would hear was the slight murmur of supporter’s either vying for the appointment, or now the subsequent removal.
Indeed when faced with the competition for the job from the likes of the experienced George Burley and another young gun Paul Ince, the former Notts defender faced an uphill task, particularly when trying to follow the glowing praise that Ray Trew had made public for Ince.
In some quarters, Short would unfairly never be able to step out of the shadows of the names previously muted.
Ray Trew has said on many occasions though that what Craig Short offered him during the interview process far exceeded what he had heard from the other applicants and this what won him the position.
Perhaps in moving so quickly to remove Craig from his role it could be perceived as an admission that maybe him and his board got things wrong. An opinion of mine only further enforced by Ray’s statement on the club’s Mailing List that the new man will be someone of experience.
Regardless, as we move on, perhaps the knife sharpening is a little premature?
Moving the attention to Ray Trew for a moment, he’s a man who has constantly felt the need to re-enforce his stance that he wants a second promotion this this season. This sacking is the biggest indication yet that he will ruthlessly do whatever necessary deeds are required to ensure this happens.
Notts County find themselves in a fortunate position. With nPower League One currently as it stands, things are still wide open, and anyone can win a game on any day. Perhaps any other season right now we might be looking at a lost cause? Fortunately this isn’t the case, any longer and it could all be so different.
Ray was left with two choices really. Stick it out a bit longer and hope for the best, or strike down quickly whilst we still have that chance of success this season. The playoff positions (at least) are still in our sight with a good run of results. A lot of clubs that take on new managers rarely offer such light at the end of the tunnel.
So far this season it has become clear to see that (despite such a horrific start) that Notts do have a side capable of doing some damage this year. Those missed 12 points are indicative of this. By bringing in a new man now, we’ve a chance of installing someone who might just be able to squeeze out that extra 20% out of the players to get us across the finishing line more often!
A calculated risk no question, dependent now only on who fills the manager’s dugout of course.
With all of that said for Craig Short’s departure, the removal of Dave Kevan still strikes me as peculiar. Upon first glance, you’d perhaps think Ray Trew has someone earmarked for the role who will be bringing in their own assistant?
But for all that, Kevan is still a man more highly regarded than many at Notts.
His input last season was without question one of the glue’s that kept the side together throughout all manner of the off-field nonsense that littered the squad. Ray Trew himself is on record enough times hailing Dave’s efforts for Notts.
So i can’t really shift the nagging feeling that i would’ve thought Dave had a job for life at Meadow Lane. Perhaps not strictly in a coaching role, but surely something behind the scenes.
Maybe more to this than a results-based decision then?