The sacking of Carl Fletcher following a 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers came as no real surprise to any Argyle fan. A dismal run of just one win in 15 games has seen the Greens plummet down the table and lie precariously above the relegation zone.
What was strange though was after the initial sense of relief from the Green Army – many had sensed it was time up for Fletcher long before he was relieved of his duties – was the sadness that greeted the news. Fletcher had been with the club through the toughest four years in it’s history and remained loyal throughout. He was well respected as a player and will always be remembered for managing us to safety last year against the odds when all signs pointed to Argyle dropping into the conference.
On top of that how often do you see a manager, just sacked, face the media just minutes after being given the boot? An emotional Carl Fletcher spoke to the BBC yesterday and revealed his departure himself whilst struggling to hold back the tears. He may have had his doubters but it is evident that he cared for the club.
Sadly this season has been a nightmare for him and whilst most are glad he is no longer manager, he leaves with big respect from the Green Army. Should our paths ever cross against I’m confident he will get a warm reception from Argyle fans.
But enough of the sentimental side of things, Argyle are in big, big trouble and need to act fast.
We lie just two points outside the relegation zone and to make things worse both sides who occupy the drop zone currently have two games in hand on us.
The club have announced they are looking to appoint a manager with ‘significant experience of football management’. There are currently a few candidates out there that seem suitable for the job of not only keeping us in the league this season, but managing a promotion push in the not so distant future, which was (believe it or not) the aim at the start of this season.
Without wanting to blow my own teams trumpet the job must seem attractive to potential managers. Argyle are amongst the biggest clubs in League Two, have a big base of support and one of the biggest budgets in the division. The one thing that always tends to hold us (and other West country clubs) back when it comes to managerial appointments is our location, the South-West is miles away from the major cities and Plymouth in particular is a long way down the country.
The decision to change the manager has been made just in time for the January transfer window, presuming the new manager is in place in time to take advantage of most of it. In my opinion the squad we already have is easily good enough to keep us in League Two, although we really do need a striker that can find the net on a consistent basis.
The man that a lot of Argyle fans want to see manager is Keith Hill. He worked wonders in League Two with Rochdale a few years ago and whilst he struggled in his most recent job with Barnsley he appears to know what it takes to succeed at this level of football. He also played for Argyle for four seasons and knows the area.
Whoever the club appoint, they need to get it spot on. Relegation to the conference would be a larger than life catastrophe for Argyle.