If I was a director (and given the rate of turnover, I may yet end up doing a turn on a rota) I’d be feeling the pressure of yet “Another Big Decision”.
Applying my interpretation to the plethora of club statements, I believe Hereford FC seek a Head Coach whose day job can be eased aside when necessary to manage a team who will become full-time some season in the future. There are several points to be explored here.
Firstly, two weeks into the season is not the best time to find that “right” candidate. To add an extra rider “can you switch to full-time when it suits?” makes a small field so much smaller. Dangerously smaller. I have a personal shortlist of 4 candidates, all of whom have built up careers and are fairly unlikely to chuck them over for the Edgar Street revolving door.
But what is “full-time?” The phrase has different meanings to different clubs. To Basingstoke, it meant Academy rejects on £100 per week. To York, its expensively-waged players training 4 mornings a week while interest on their huge debts rises daily. Others are somewhere in between. A few Step 2 clubs believe 3 training sessions per week constitutes full time. Chester, who I will return to shortly, describe their 4 weekly training get-togethers as a hybrid model. If a new broom Hereford manager could flex down his daytime job, rather than walk away from it, to meet say a hybrid model, then that is a win-win. Lower costs for the club and the security of a long term income for the manager.
Hiring a full-time manager now, as trailed on various channels, makes little sense. Who would hire a full-time teacher to teach students one afternoon each week? What is the return on investment? Hard to imagine what a full-timer would do during daytime. The player budget is surely largely spent already while a student needing a CV boost is better placed to handle match analysis. Remember our budget has already taken an off-profile hit with costs around the exit of another management team.
Ah budgets. How will Hereford be able to trade up to a hybrid/ full time model? Wages will soar and the Board have yet to clarify how these extra outgoings will be covered, probably because they don’t know themselves. Neither do I. Full-time clubs in our Division make a loss every year, the shortfall picked up by deep pocketed individuals. That’s not a option for us. I mentioned Chester with whom we have many similarities. Their new model involves two daytime training sessions and two more in the evening. The additional costs are covered partly by a benefactor and partly by increased commercial activity. The latter is more realistic in a highly prosperous, large city. Less realistic for us.
So a lot of imponderables ahead. A big decision about a new broom. Choosing who the Board believe is the right man and getting the noisy minority on side as well is a big ask. I wish them well.
By Simon Wright