Tuesday was a dark day for Shrewsbury Town Football Club. Club legend Graham Turner decided enough was enough and tendered his resignation as manager. His reign as longest running active manager that had spanned thirty five years, but just five managerial posts, had to come to an end one day, but we all hoped it would be in more glorious circumstances than this.
The pressure of failing form and struggles to reinforce the squad finally took its toll on a man who seemed dead set on seeing this thing through to whatever end there was destined to be. His parting statement was delivered in the gentlemanly style those that knew him would expect – paying tribute to a supportive chairman and showing brutal honesty in identifying the fact that perhaps he no longer had the ability to arrest our current dip.
All eyes will now be on the successor. Before then, we have the inevitable debate as to who the fans want to replace Turner. Whoever takes the job will need to be prepared to work on the squad quickly and on a tight budget, with only ten days of the Transfer Window left and Wycherley highly unlikely to sanction a spending spree for the new man. They will also need to be a motivator, as squad morale is bound to be low right now with the run of form and the loss of a trusted and respected manager. Finally, I fully expect the new manager to be unattached – Roland is not likely to want to pay compensation to another club if he can get one for nothing!
So, who’s available? Well, Paul Ince is fresh to the out-of-work managers club for one. He did alright at Macclesfield and his first MK Dons spell, but has not replicated any such success since his ill-fated spell at Blackburn. Then you’ve got the usual lower league suspects – Martin Allen, Alan Knill, Kevin Blackwell or Richie Barker (until recently at Crawley).
According to the Shropshire Star readers vote, Robbie Fowler and Stuart Pearce would be popular appointments, but let’s be completely honest here – the chances of Shrewsbury pulling off such a coup are slim, besides Fowler has no experience and Pearce has hardly had a successful managerial career to date.
In the short term, Chairman Wycherley has placed his trust in reserve team coach Mike Jackson. The club have confirmed that Jackson will be in control of team matters for the next three games at least while the search for a permanent successor to Graham Turner goes on. Bizarrely, after struggling to bring in new faces under Turner, Shrewsbury have today secured the loan signing of Scottish U-21 midfielder Fraser Fyvie from Wigan in time to face Swindon on Saturday.
The next couple of weeks will no doubt be full of rumour and intrigue, but it’s safe to say that Mr Wycherley will put the club's stable finances ahead of a headline grabbing appointment…