Imagine a conversation with one of the many observant and amicable Bideford supporters who met many of our own in July. The bonding Devon weekend with two matches included.

“How’s that mournful-looking Head Coach doing?”
“He’s long gone!”
“So who’s in charge now?”
“It was the Director of Football briefly but he’s gone. Then we had a “proper” manager but he’s gone on as well and so the senior player is having his go…”
“+++++ ! No wonder you lot are struggling…”

And that’s our reality. Think of any business, any industry, public or private who have had 4 different people in charge in just six months and you’ll see confusion, low morale and poor performance.  Financially and otherwise. That’s us, this season.

I’m not necessarily reaching for my green crayon and my sharpest fingers to outline yet another metaphoric assault on our Board.  Been said many times and what’s done can’t be undone. Managerial selection is damn hard and is primarily about gut feeling, instinct and lucky timing. And our Gaffer selectors are laypeople not football people. I’m trying to be as understanding as possible here. Some might say “generous” but we are supposed to be Forever United. I would be very interested to know what will be done differently next time.

The here and now is that Josh Gowling will enter through the Edgar Street managerial turnstile tomorrow as the latest gaffer. For now, the hearts and minds campaign is won, yet I fear nothing other than a rapid improvement will silence the critics.  Ex-players are initially judged on their recent playing prowess and Gowling’s contribution is very mixed in 19-20. For those willing to listen, there is much mitigation to be cashed in. I wonder again whether Gowling’s departure from Grimsby six days after Slade arrived as manager was more than a co-incidence.

Our spectacularly-haired Gaffer does deserve a fair go. To be judged on what it is possible to do with our shuffling squad. As Frank Williams sagaciously observed in my local pub last night “several of the squad will have renewed hope of a new contract next season…”

The transition from being one of the (older) boys to manager is a big one and often tricky to pull off.  Perceived favouritism to your best friend. Dropping someone and cutting them off from bonuses you know they desperately need. A confidence shared when you were a mate. Not the Boss.  Etc. Tricky times, but now with the appointment of Steve Burr as his assistant – we have a decent looking partnership.

They deserve our full support. JG will enjoy one advantage tomorrow as Curzon will not have the faintest clue of our tactics, formation or even most of the line-up.  Overall if they succeed, then we all succeed. They deserves our full support.

Simon Wright

By Editor

Lifelong Hereford supporter who has endured the rise and fall of the club through progressive generations. Sports journalist, broadcaster and commentator who will never forget his Edgar Street roots.

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