Bristol Rovers fans' view with Dennis Payter
I HOPE the Rovers board have learned from last time and will show us that they already have the next man lined up to come through the swing doors.
The writing had been on the wall for Mark McGhee for some weeks, so they should have been looking already at all the available options.
Nick Higgs and Barry Bradshaw are successful businessmen but they must admit that up to now they would not have got a GCSE in How To Pick A Good Football Manager.
I admit it is a bit of a lottery. The irony is that most of the candidates will probably have already failed elsewhere and are looking for another chance. Most of us thought McGhee was the man for the job and I also remember the enthusiasm fans showed when Paul Buckle took the hot-seat.
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Not only the manager, but the whole framework of the club needs improving. Even if we had a good scouting network, there is no conveyor belt for players to come through.
Sending promising youngsters out on loan, as we do to non-league clubs, has not worked. York introduced their latest academy product against us on Saturday, while Ipswich Town signed a promising 19-year-old from Chippenham (Tyrone Mings) on Friday.
Isn't that the sort of lad we should be signing? Bradford City had four home-grown youngsters in their side which beat Arsenal last week.
Instead of playing a 33-year-old reject from Aldershot, it should have been just the situation for Rovers to introduce a youngster. Otherwise, when are they going to get a chance?
The club have a head of academy, a development coach and a youth team manager. We need to be producing three youngsters a year to justify their wages. Our lads pulled off a fine win at Coventry in the FA Youth Cup: throw the best ones in and the fans will be right behind them.
Again at York, Tom Parkes played in midfield leaving Garry Kenneth and Jim Paterson to line up at the back with Guy Branston. At least no one could accuse our back four of punching above their weight, but we cannot go on playing these three together as we are done for pace with every ball over the top.
It is not long since we had three managers in one season and still got relegated. I hope the board get it right this time – or it is Goodnight Irene.
Rovers fans deserve some Christmas cheer and Mike Jay's The Geoff Bradford Story is a must for the stocking.
Another is Fields of Dreams by Chris Arnot, which details football grounds which have closed and includes a chapter on the old Eastville Stadium.