Delighted to see you Russell Slade, who is closely followed by a jangling cacophony of musical insertions. The ex-Cardiff man is Hereford’s fifth team picker in twelve months, always considered to be an indicator of club instability or supporters with unreasonable expectations or even a Board struggling to find the right personnel. I’ll leave both my readers to decide for themselves whether such a moniker is appropriate. I’m instantly reminded of a professional goalkeeper I knew reasonably well, who put in a decade’s service into one football club, a side who changed their Gaffer regularly. Minutes after the latest incumbent had forlornly exited through the revolving door, “Another one bites the dust” vibrated across the dressing room. What senior players remain at Edgar Street will be adjusting to yet another hand at the tiller.
When the chips are down, Slade’s been there and done it. Made a difference and been sacked. Hereford is his fourteenth turn as a manager. His past record ain’t love but it ain’t bad. Some struggling clubs have survived. Some mid-table sides reached the play-off but yet he’s never experienced promotion as a manager. or a player. Slade has never played first-team football, Neither, as he pointed out, did Jose Mourinho. Slade’s last 3 appointments ended prematurely, followed by a “rest.” Talking to the Guardian, Slade once opined “your contacts in the game are absolutely massive because I’m dealing in a market of free transfers and very often they’re a free transfer for a reason.” I do wonder if his rest period has taken him out of the loop. Contacts will have retired, changed their number or just forgotten Slade. He will also be shopping in the unfamiliar environment of part-time football, which is almost totally absent from his CV.
Weeks from his 59th birthday, Slade is probably the oldest manager in National League North. Being of similar vintage myself, I do wonder about energy levels and cynicism too. Vast experience can lead to a world weariness about directors promises and a certain intolerance of ignorant people. That’s certainly me, not sure about the new man.
Some platforms have waxed excitedly about our club appointing a “full-time” manager yet there is no official confirmation yet of “full-time”. Or on the future status of Tim Harris. One wonders what two mature men would do all day? Slade is qualified to coach swimming, badminton, tennis, cricket and athletics so perhaps our community manager might seize on his talents. My town for the Slade Family home is far, far away in Scarborough so as a shape of things to come, local accommodation will be needed. When managing Orient, Slade lived over the shop in one of the flats which overlooks their stadium. Any of those flats opposite the main stand vacant?
In a sign of the times around the Street, some supporters have reacted positively to the new appointment. I’m not one of them. Let’s be clear I will absolutely give our new manager every chance to make a difference but I’m not getting enthused on the basis of a Wikipedia entry and a recorded interview.
Managers are like good strikers. Skill and knowledge are only part of their game. Luck, timing and the right backing make up the rest. And 7 Slade song titles. I wish him well.
If Slade succeeds so do Hereford FC.
By Simon Wright
Image: Hereford FC.