The departure of Chris Kiwomya on Sunday means that Notts County are looking for yet another new manager. Since Sven Goran Eriksson turned up as Director of Football back in 2009 and even since he left, the entrance to Meadow Lane has become a revolving door, with chairman Ray Trew too trigger-happy, and now he is finally suffering the consequences with the Magpies sitting bottom of League One. Serves him right for making the world’s oldest club the image of instability.
At the time of Sven’s high-profile arrival, Ian McParland was the manager, having held the position for almost two years. Despite an excellent start to the 2009-10 season, the Scot was sacked after a couple of disappointing results. He was the first managerial casualty of many, and his replacement, Eriksson’s fellow Swede Hans Backe, did not last long, resigning after just a matter of weeks. It was then left to Steve Cotterill to guide the club to promotion from League Two that season, but then Portsmouth came calling after their relegation from the Premier League, and County found themselves looking for a new boss once again.
Admittedly, two of those managers were not sacked, but all of the managers since then have been, as Trew, who arrived shortly after Cotterill, has seemingly been on a solo mission to get through as many managers as possible while keeping the club afloat, typifying the attitude that has become frustratingly familiar in recent years, that of owners and chairmen demanding instant, and constant success and good results.
Craig Short, appointed in the summer of 2010, came and went in the proverbial blink of an eye, having not made the best of starts in a higher division, but one that was hardly as bad as fellow central defender David Weir’s recent trauma at Sheffield United. Former Liverpool and Manchester United star Paul Ince came in, but again failed to meet the unrealistic demands of Trew, and left in April 2011 having just about kept County up following a turbulent season.
In recent years, Martin Allen has gained something of a reputation for being fairly nomadic, but he should have lasted longer at Notts County. Under ‘Mad Dog’, the team was inconsistent, but he delivered progress, as the club was in no danger of battling relegation, with a play-off challenge looking far more likely. He was shown the door, thus allowing Keith Curle to take over the reins. He again did well, but in 2012-13 he struggled to handle the expectations, and home form was poor, and in March, his tenure came to an abrupt end.
All these manager changes was finally beginning to be too much for some members of the playing squad, with some star men leaving over the summer. Star man Alan Judge was one of them, going to Blackburn Rovers of all places. And Jeff Hughes, who had been a very consistent performer in his two seasons there, inexplicably dropped down a division to join Fleetwood Town.
It made Chris Kiwomya’s task all the more difficult. He was given an unenviable task when he was surprisingly appointed as Curle’s successor as he was left to work with a completely inferior squad to the one presided over by his two immediate predecessors, and that has shown on the pitch so far this season, with just seven league points accumulated. Home wins over fellow strugglers Tranmere Rovers and Crewe Alexandra, and a draw away to Walsall have been rare positives, with only Celtic loanee Callum McGregor looking capable of scoring at a half-decent rate.
Sometimes you have got to be careful what you wish for, and Ray Trew has paid a heavy price for his actions over the last three years, and his decision making, and not poor management, has led to the club sinking to depths that it currently lies within, and a journey back to square one, namely League Two football, might not be too far in the horizon.