The Hereford Football Club chairman, Andrew Graham, has been explaining both the rationale behind the dismissal of Marc Richards as head coach at Edgar Street, and what the club are looking for in his replacement. It is expected the new appointment will be in place “by the end of the month”.
Why was Marc Richards dismissed now?
A lot of people have said they would like to have seen him given longer to prove himself but, in this instance, we have committed ourselves to a hefty budget and we believe we have brought in a very effective squad. However, we don’t feel we are getting the best out of them at the moment and there’s a lot of work to do in that regard.
We are sitting three points off the top, however, we don’t think the style or standard of football we played under Marc was what we expected. You have to understand that this is a type of club where there are high expectations, not just from the supporters but the board of directors as well. If we don’t feel we’re delivering as well as we should be then conversations need to take place.
We have seen more than 8 games with the new squad, and we’ve seen their capabilities. You also have to bear in mind we are not just watching them in matches but also during their training sessions. We’ve seen their technical ability. We’ve seen their fitness levels and their physical strength, which are both a lot sharper compared to last year. So, if that’s not transferring itself out onto the pitch then there are questions to be asked.
However, when you have someone with the technical ability of Marc Richards, it isn’t just a case of saying “well this isn’t working for us” because, even during the friendly matches, you have to give someone the opportunity to transfer that technical nous out onto the pitch. Who is to say his tactics, his set-up, and his formations, and what he has worked on with the players, wasn’t going to prove successful?
So, that left us in a situation where the football wasn’t what we wanted to see. Nor was it what the fans wanted to see. Would that have corrected itself? Possibly, but we’re not in the business of flipping a coin about the future of Hereford Football Club, and we have to look at long term strategies.
I therefore spoke to Marc Richards face-to-face about all of this, and I’m new in the chair and I therefore asked myself is Marc right for us, and are we the right fit for Marc Richards? He said that he probably could not commit to going full-time with Hereford FC, should we switch to that in the future.
I’m not in a position to take that forward as a long-term strategy, so now in my mind as a board we have to decide whether we’re prepared to leave things as they are, and then go full-time when someone could just say I’m away. Or, do we now start to say this should be decided upon and we need to move with a different focus.
It’s fully appreciated that you weren’t chairman when Marc Richards was appointed but nonetheless when he was given the job you as a board would have known that he had other commitments. So, that hasn’t changed from his point of view, surely?
It might not have changed from his point of view, but it’s certainly changed from the club’s point of view. The decision to appoint Tim Harris and Marc Richards was a collective one by the board, and that’s not an issue here. I don’t think the last chair, or the last board, was incorrect in making the changes in management that were made. However, if you’re faced with a situation where we don’t feel we’re able to move forward with the coach long term, and we perhaps feel that we’re sustainable enough to progress to full-time status next year, then we have to make a decision.
We have to look longer term than Marc Richards’ contract, and it’s perfect to have someone in to build the team and put us in a position to look to go full-time, and look towards promotion to the National League, but if we’re now in a situation where that could happen sooner, I have to look at the strategy. Marc doesn’t future in that strategy, and he understands that. So, it’s a mutual acceptance.
And so, back to the original question, we believe it is the right time to remove Marc Richards.